Home > Features >

Ahmed Shehzad-Tillakaratne Dilshan incident: How serious is the issue?

© Getty Images
Tillakaratne Dilshan (left) converted from Islam to Buddhism at the age of 16; Ahmed Shehzad’s alleged comments were sensitive in nature © Getty Images

Ahmed Shehzad allegedly made a religious remark to Tillakaratne Dilshan during the recent One-Day International (ODI) between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. If those allegations are true, Shehzad could find himself in hot water. However, why has this alleged incident surfaced five days after it is said to have taken place? Nishad Pai Vaidya write about the controversy.

Ahmed Shehzad seems to be an expressive individual who does not hold back his thoughts. There is that brashness of youth in his demeanour that also spills into his aggressive approach to the game. Earlier this year, during the ICC World T20 2014, he quite sarcastically dedicated his ton against Bangladesh to critics who had seemingly “said things about him”. Yes, the young man was basking in his new found glory, but he prematurely put his foot in the mouth. In the next game, he was dismissed first ball when Krishmar Santokie trapped him in front with a yorker. Cricket is a great leveller after all!

While Shehzad’s comments during the World T20 can be brushed aside as a small indiscretion of youth, the recent allegations are serious. During the recent One-Day International (ODI) between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Shehzad allegedly told Tillakaratne Dilshan, “If you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven.” It is to be noted that Dilshan was a Muslim (he was called Tuwan Mohammed Dilshan) before converting to Buddhism and changing his name to Tillakaratne Mudiyanselage Dilshan. The Associated Press has reported that the incident is under investigation.

Sledging or taking a dig at players is one thing; it is an oft accepted tactic to disturb the rhythm of the opposition. Only when tempers flare, do such skirmishes get ugly. One may recall the Ramnaresh Sarwan-Glenn McGrath incident, where things had certainly got out of hand there as the players did cross the line. Shehzad’s alleged comments could be a lot more serious than any of the other incidents we have seen in the past. Targeting someone on his or her religion or race is a serious offence. If the allegations are true, Shehzad could well be in trouble.

Having said that, what is surprising is that although the incident took place a good five days ago, it has only come to light recently. Though there is a video footage of Shehzad seemingly making that remark, it has gone almost unnoticed until Wednesday. In this era, where the social media is ever powerful and videos surface on YouTube in no time, how did this get away for so long?

Thus, we must also brace for the possibility of those comments being taken out of context. For days, there was no word or even a whisper about it in the media. All of a sudden it comes up with the series dead and buried. Also, there was no reported complain from Dilshan, who is said to be at the receiving end. He was the one against whom the offensive remark was allegedly made. Despite that there does not seem to be any anger or displeasure in his body language as he walked alongside Shehzad. Was it a “personal chat” as the Pakistan team manager claims? If it is, does it come under the ambit of investigation? There seem to be a few unanswered questions.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo


Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)


Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos


AB de Villiers: Disappointed with defeat in Australia

Sachin Tendulkar express shock on Phillip Hughes’ death

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) must be disqualified, says Supreme Court

Virat Kohli mourns Phil Hughes’ death

Phil Hughes passes away: Twitter reactions

Australia Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 Pakistan Phil Hughes head injury South Africa Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Phillip Hughes’ death: ICC offers condolences

Former ICC President advises PCB to not rush with Mohammad Aamer’s return to Pakistan team

Phillip Hughes death ‘freakish accident’, says doctor

Phillip Hughes dies after being hit by bouncer during Sheffield Shield clash in Sydney

Phillip Hughes death reignites age-old safety debate

Phillip Hughes: Rest in peace

Moeen Ali becomes third fastest centurion for England in ODIs

Ishant Sharma — Is his current ODI form good enough to earn him a place in ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The birth of Day Night cricket matches

Phillip Hughes head injury: Are helmets making batsmen complacent?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

Bigg Boss: Hot Pakistani model Veena Malik and husband arrested on blasphemy charges

மணப்பெண் அழகு சரிபார்ப்பு பட்டியல் – உங்கள் திருமணத்திற்கு ஒரு மாதத்திற்கு முன் என்ன செய்ய வேண்டும்

Bigg Boss 8: Is Gautam Gulati out of the house?

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Scoop: Is Sid Mallya really gay? Watch video to find out!

Microsoft Lumia 535: First non-Nokia low budget Windows smartphone set to be launched today

रितेश-जेनेलिया देशमुख के घर पुत्ररत्न का हुआ जन्म

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here