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

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

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

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui


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

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 10, 2014  at Dubai

Australia won by 5 wkts


India vs West Indies 4th ODI at Dharamsala


Pakistan A vs Australia, Day 4: Highlights

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Virat Kohli takes wicket with the first (0th?) ball of his T20I career

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography — a litany of complaints with a few redeeming patches

Banning West Indian players in IPL can affect the ‘Brand value’ of the event – Will BCCI take this gamble?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan BCCI India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 Pakistan Salaam Cricket South Africa West Indies West Indies cancel India tour 2014 West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

Wajahatullah Wasti released from jail

Al Amin Hossain to undergo bowling action test

Cricket Australia deeply concerned about West Indies’ pullout

Australia’s loss against Pakistan A will help to find flaws in the opposition, feels Waqar Younis

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: West Bengal government wants to reschedule Eden Gardens ODI

Virender Sehwag turns 36: Five most memorable innings of the Nawab of Najafgarh

New Zealand begin ICC World Cup 2015 preparations with 15 ODIs in store

Virender Sehwag paid birthday tribute to by Sophos Antivirus

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Fan of the Day

Gautam Singh

Gautam Singh

474 Posts | 5 Fans

Video Highlights Mohammed Yousuf drops catch after watching a girl in bikini

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here