The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) waived batter Azam Khan’s 50% match fee penalties for wearing the Palestinian flag on his bat during a National T20 Cup 2023-24 on Tuesday.The board said Karachi Whites wicketkeeper-batter was fined 50% of his match money for committing a level-I offense against Lahore Blues at National Bank Stadium.
In the National T20 Cup encounter in Karachi on November 26, the middle-order batter was fined for improper clothes and equipment (unapproved logo/political messaging). Azam batted with Palestine’s flag in a National T20 Cup match.
For persistent refusal to follow umpires during matches, Azam violated Article 2.4 of the PCB code of conduct for players and their support staff. Players and team officials cannot wear, display. Or express personal statements on their equipment without PCB Cricket Operations Department and Cricket Association approval.
The board’s decision follows cricket fans’ social media outrage at the cricketer’s treatment. However, netizens were furious at the PCB’s punishment of the batter and criticized the cricket authorities. It is vital to note that cricketers shared remarks and pictures supporting Palestine on social media during the World Cup. Off-field actions are beyond the ICC code; hence, they weren’t penalized then.
Sources say Azam told the referee all his bats had the same stickers. The ICC clothing and equipment rule prohibits players from displaying political, religious, or racial themes. Azam wore the identical sticker on his bat in two previous National T20 Cup games, sources said. However, no one cautioned him before Sunday’s game.