CHENNAI: It’s a matter of faith for Muslim cricketers featuring in the IPL and their teams are ready to ensure they can keep religious beliefs intact.
Islam prohibits consumption or promotion of alcohol. Cricketers in the past decided not to wear jerseys with logos promoting liquor brands. Madhya Pradesh pacer Avesh Khan and Mumbai left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla are examples, while playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore. This year also, players in certain IPL teams have obtained permission to not display logos which hurt their religious sentiments. There are other teams ready to accept in the eventuality of receiving such requests.
“Moeen Ali will play for us, with Mohammed Siraj. Muslim cricketers usually decide against promoting liquor and tobacco. This year too it was the same. We are very mindful of religious sensitivity, and keeping their beliefs in mind, we have accepted their requests,” a Royal Challengers Bangalore official told Express.
Of the eight teams, Delhi Capitals featuring Avesh and Rajasthan Royals with no Muslim player in their ranks do not have partners or sponsors promoting alcohol. Kolkata Knight Riders with Royal Stag as principal sponsor do not feature any Muslim cricketer. The other five teams have Muslims and brands as sponsors that they might be uncomfortable with.
Defending champions Chennai Super Kings have British Empire Glasses and SNJ 10000 Packaged Drinking Water — surrogate product brands of the SNJ Distilleries Private Limited. As part of the deal, their jerseys will carry the logo of SNJ 10000 on the leading arm and British Empire on the back of the helmet. The team has South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who in the past declined to wear such logos, and Kerala batsman KM Asif.
“We haven’t received any request (of not sporting logos promoting alcohol) so far. However, the decision rests solely on players. If they don’t want to sport liquor logos, then they can choose so,” said Kasi Viswanathan, CSK’s CEO.
Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab have maximum presence of Muslim cricketers in the league. The former have Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan), Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh), Khaleel Ahmed, Shahbaz Nadeem and Yusuf Pathan. With Punjab are Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan) and Sarfaraz Khan.
An official of KXIP, who have Royal Stag as principal sponsor and Kingfisher as partner, claimed none of the Muslim cricketers have approached the management yet. SRH and Mumbai Indians, who have Kingfisher as sponsor and official partner, respectively, said they do not have their logos on the shirts. Mumbai Indians have 17-year-old Jammu & Kashmir player Rasikh Salam Dar in the squad.