Indian lawyer seeks legal action against Rizwan for offering prayer, supporting Gaza

Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan offers Nawaz amid a break during their World Cup clash with Netherlands on Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, India. — ICC/Screengrab.

In a surprising development, an Indian lawyer has filed a complaint to the International Cricket Council (ICC) against Pakistan’s wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan for offering prayer on the ground and voicing support for Gaza which — according to the complaint — “defeated the spirit of sports”.

In his complaint Vineet Jindal — the same lawyer who filed a complaint against Pakistan presenter Zainab Abbas over her “anti-Hindu” statements — has urged the top cricketing body to take “strict action” against Rizwan.

The wicket-keeper batsman had offered prayer during Pakistan’s opening match against the Netherlands in Hyderabad and then went on to dedicate his century against Sri Lanka on October 10 to the “brothers and sisters in Gaza”.

“This is a complaint about Pakistan Cricket Player, Mohammad Rizwan, who was seen offering namaz on the cricket field during his team’s opening match of the ongoing ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 on Friday (October 6) against the Netherlands in Hyderabad,” Jindal — an advocate of the Supreme Court of India — said in his complaint addressed to ICC Chairman Greg Barclay.

“The act of Mohammad Rizwan when he read namaz on the cricket field amid many Indians is symbolic of the intentional depiction of his religion which stands against the spirit of the sports.

“This very act of the player raises questions about the spirit of the match and raises a question of the ideology, the player follows while playing the match. The act of displaying his religion by Mohammed Rizwan purposefully depicts his intent to message that he is a Muslim, defeating the spirit of sports. Rizwan was seen offering prayers amid the field while his teammates were waiting for the drinks during the break.” the lawyer argued.

“The act of representation of his religion by Mohammed Rizwan in the field and further followed by his statement in his press conference regarding the dedication of his victory to the people of Gaza further attests to his religious and political ideology,” he added.

The complainant went on to mention that, “Earlier in 2021, Rizwan had offered namaz on the ground. When Babar Azam-led side defeated India by 10 wickets in the ICC T20 World Cup ‘Super 12” game, former Pakistan pace bowler Wagar Younis expressed his glee and voiced, “What I liked most is what Rizwan did. He stood in the middle of the ground and read the prayers in front of the Hindus,” after the 31-year-old Mohammad Rizwan had used the cricket match as an opportunity to flaunt his faith in front of millions of viewers belonging to various religion. Pakistani social media users have also lauded batsman Mohammad Rizwan for offering an on-field prayer during the match.”

Earlier, following Jindal’s complaint, Zainab Abbas, who was in India as a presenter for the ongoing ICC Men’s World Cup 2023, left the country on October 9, with the international cricket body saying her decision was based on “personal reasons”.

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