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)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Viv Richards’ 6/41 bowls West Indies to a thrilling victory over India

Asad Shafiq emerges as dependable No 6 for Pakistan

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Hosts hope to return to winning ways

Kepler Wessels suprised with Jesse Ryder’s inclusion in New Zealand squad

Younis Khan deserves to be in 2015 World Cup squad, says Zaheer Abbas

Misbah-ul-Haq supports polio drive launched by UNICEF

Pakistan on top against Australia at Lunch on Day 3 despite David Warner century

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Don Bradman — even if every chance he ever gave in his career was accepted, he would still remain head and shoulders above the others

Len Hutton’s hundred gets reported as illness

Viv Richards’ 6/41 bowls West Indies to a thrilling victory over India

Asad Shafiq emerges as dependable No 6 for Pakistan

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Top Sex Positions: Frog Princess

Happy New Year box office: Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone’s film off to a flying start!

Nokia turnaround since handset unit sale continues, reports $950 million Q3 net profit

‘Kaththi’ mints Rs.15.4 crore on release day

Google partners Oxford University to teach machines to think

Rashami Desai, Ravi Dubey, Tina Dutta wish to have a pet friendly Diwali!

How to make tamarind or imli packs for hair and skin

Happy New Year movie review: Crafted to please Shah Rukh Khan fans

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here