Inzamam, Nasim explain their opinions over religion issue
It seems that a war of words has begun between two of the most influential men in Pakistan cricket.
In what appeared to be a thinly veiled response to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf’s homely over religious practice, Inzamam-ul-Haq told a web portal on Tuesday that he has never forced anyone in the national team to pray or grow a beard.
The regular Pakistan captain also said people who say that he (Inzamam) has been forcing players to become religious know nothing about Islam.
Inzamam, currently serving a four-match ODI ban over The Oval Test forfeiture, was quoted as saying in the interview that in Islam you cannot force anybody to pray or grow a beard, pointing out that currently there are just two bearded players other than him in the national team.
He was referring to all-rounder Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Yousuf, the prolific batsman who converted to Islam from Christianity last year.
Inzamam’s interview came after Nasim was quoted as saying in a TV interview that there should be a balance between religion and cricket. He also said Inzamam has been told that there should be no pressure on national team players to pray and their selection should not be linked to their religious practice.
The comments ignited yet another controversy and were assailed by several religious leaders.
It is feared that Inzamam’s reaction would add fuel to fire which is the reason why the PCB is now trying to do some damage control.
A PCB spokesman told this correspondent on Tuesday that Nasim was misinterpreted, as he never said anything against religious practice. “The chairman (Nasim) himself is a practising Muslim and even has a beard,” said the spokesman. “He believes that religious spirit is a binding factor in the team.”
According to the spokesman, the PCB chief just wants to make it clear that religion should be a personal matter for individual players and should not be allowed to become a criterion for selection in the national team.
In recent times, there has been a whispering campaign in national cricket circles that Inzamam is forcibly spreading a strict Islamic culture within the national team. It is also said that as Pakistan captain, he is closer to players who pray regularly with him.
Written by Team CricketViewer on October 26th, 2006 with 62 Views1 comment.
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