Karachi: A controversy erupted today in Pakistan cricket over the issue of its players doing push-ups after matches to celebrate individual or team successes.
Najam Sethi, former Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board and now head of the executive committee, found himself at the centre of the controversy while appearing before a standing committee of the National Assembly in Islamabad.
During the meeting lawmakers of the PML-N ruling party — Rana Muhammad Afzal and Chaudhry Nazeer Ahmad — asked what message players are giving by doing the push-ups.
“It would have been better if the players offered nawafil (special prayers) or Sajda instead of doing press-ups on the victory,” Afzal said.
Apparently Sethi in response told the committee members that and players had been told to avoid them.
But later in his tweets, Sethi insisted that that cricket players did Sajda or push-ups are done at their own discretion.
He also called on the media to “refrain from politicising the Pakistan cricket team”.
Pakistan’s eccentric fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar later said on a news channel that the Pakistani team should find another way to celebrate although there was nothing wrong in doing push-ups.
Push-ups became a popular mode of celebrating personal feats among Pakistani players during their tour of England following their training camp with the Pakistan Army.
Push-ups as celebration were first done by skipper Misbah-ul-Haq after he completed his century in a Test match against England in July. After that, the entire Pakistani team did the same after their Test win at Lord’s.
Meanwhile, Hindu lawmaker Ramesh Kumar also asked Sethi what message the board was sending to the world by banning the only Hindu player, Danish Kaneria.
Sethi said that Kaneria was banned for life for spot-fixing by the England and Wales Cricket Board and under ICC laws all member boards had to implement the ECB decision.
Kumar than asked Sethi what evidence had the PCB been given by the ECB to confirm whether Kaneria was involved in spot-fixing to which Sethi had no clear answer.