Home > Features >

Moeen Ali’s ‘Save Gaza’ wristband suspension: Cricket and political sentiments don’t mix

Moeen Ali’s ‘Save Gaza’ wristband suspension: Cricket and political sentiments don’t mix
Moeen Ali was asked by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to not sport the wristbands during India and England third Test at Southampton © Getty Images

In the past, politics mired with sport has always sparked off debates and divided opinion amongst the viewing public. R Vishal looks at Moeen Ali’s stance to wear an wristband supporting the war-torn land of Palestine and whether he was right in doing so.

Breaking into the English team with a well-combed beard, there were instant comparisons between Moeen Ali and South African batting mainstay Hashim Amla. Cricket, after all has embraced their bearded men more than any other sport. Politics and cricket or for that matter any sport, have not gelled well. The man in question, Moeen Ali wore an wristband in the ongoing third Test against India at Southampoton which had the messages ‘Save Gaza’ and ‘Free Palestine’ embedded on them.

For England, being involved in a row with political connotations has been a fairly recurring theme. The ICC World Cup 2003 reached a tipping point with Nasser Hussain’s men bowing out of the group stage rather tearfully. The English were involved in a tug of war of whether to play their final group game against co-hosts Zimbabwe. Eventually, England ended up forfeiting their game after fearing a backlash from the dictatorial Robert Mugabe government subsequently and crashed out of the World Cup.

World over, people have outraged over the situation in Palestine, with constant bombardments displacing and killing people each and every day. Millions, by that many renowned personalities in the public eye have expressed their grief over their situation. Very few sportsmen have taken a vocal stance though. Many from the showbiz industry have taken a political stance and those having an opinion on the current situation may border on the axiomatic.

Where does that leave cricketers or for that matter sportsmen? They have as much as of a right to take a stance on a sensitive situation taking place across the world but why were the knives out on Moeen Ali’s wristbands?

Is it the general outlook of a sportsman that we have engrained in our heads since we first set our eyes on the television screen? The indefatigable, larger-than-life character fighting it out in the centre and that gives fans a vicarious sense of victory. But his domains away from the pitch are strictly demarcated.

The giants of the game have been rather coy about being vocal on a political issue and moving forward, it is best kept that way. Unlike footballers, cricketers have a reputation of having a squeaky clean, politically correct image. Moving forward, it is better if it stays that way.

Sachin Tendulkar, after leading India to a match-winning ton against England in Chennai dedicated his ton to the deceased 26/11 victims in the Mumbai terror attacks. It had zero political connotations but empathy and regret over terrorists gunning down scores of people in the batting legend’s hometown.

Footballers have often run into controversies through some bizarre celebrations down on the touchline after scoring a goal. The vests worn underneath their respective jerseys have become a scribbling board of sorts. Some have bordered on the boorish and the ugly and while some have been poignant.

The ICC’s rule book does not allow players from expressing any religious or political sentiments. Moeen was promptly barred from continuing to wear his controversial paraphernalia any further. The English all-rounder of Pakistani descent should have had a glance at the rulebook before making his views heard. The player was not wrong in doing so and credit should be given to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for standing by its player.

With many cricketers across the world being wordy geniuses across social media, there is no venting out matters that affect them. As history has proven in the past, politics is best kept away from the cricketing arena.

Click here to read more on Moeen Ali’s ‘Save Gaza’ and ‘Free  Palestine’ wristband controversy

(R Vishal is a journalist and an alumni of the Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)

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

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

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

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

More

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

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai Day 2: Pakistan lose their ninth wicket

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy East Zone vs South Zone, 2nd semi-final at Rohtak Day 2: Stuart Binny snares top order

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

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone,1st semi-final at Mohali Day 2: Gautam Gambhir holds innings together

Younis Khan: First Pakistani and 12th overall to score a century against all 9 Test nations

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

Sarfaraz Ahmed’s century helps Pakistan reach 454/8 agaist Australia at Tea on Day 2 of 1st Test

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan pround to score tons against all Test playing nations

Duleep Trophy: South Zone bundle out East Zone for 84

Andrew Flintoff to play for Brisbane Heat in BBL 2014/15

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 2nd semi-final East Zone vs South Zone at Rohtak Day 2: East Zone are tottering at 69 for 7 at Tea

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

Joginder Sharma: When an over eclipses a career

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

Younis Khan: First Pakistani and 12th overall to score a century against all 9 Test nations

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Diwali special: Check out what gifts Deepika Padukone, Sonakshi Sinha, Hrithik Roshan should exchange this Diwali!

Lenovo RocStar music-focused Android KitKat smartphone with Dolby Digital Plus audio launched in India, priced at Rs 6,499

Narendra Modi to celebrate Diwali with soldiers at Siachen Glacier

Google’s new Inbox app is the Google Now of Gmail

इबोला : अंतर्राष्ट्रीय लड़ाई में क्यूबा का साथ देगा अमेरिका

इबोला से संक्रमित अमेरिकी फोटोग्राफर विषाणु मुक्त घोषित

How are Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra and Alia Bhatt celebrating Diwali?

Diwali 2014 Special: Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Sunny Leone – Top 7 Bollywood patakas we love!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here