The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has taken a U-turn on its decision to impose a fine on batter Azam Khan for displaying the Palestine flag on his bat during a domestic match. As Azam Khan’s team Karachi Whites took on Lahore Blues at the National Stadium on Sunday, his bat featured a Palestine flag. Subsequently, a 50% fine on the match fee was imposed on Azam. However, the PCB later reviewed and matter and decided to waive the penalty that was imposed by the match officials.
In a release, the PCB said: “Azam Khan’s 50 per cent fine imposed by match officials has been reviewed and waived off by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
The Karachi Whites wicketkeeper-batter was fined 50 percent of his match fee for being found guilty of committing a level-I offence during his side’s National T20 Cup 2023-24 match against Lahore Blues at National Bank Stadium, Karachi.
Azam was found to have violated Article 2.4 of the PCB Code of Conduct For Players and Players Support Personnel for repeated failure to comply with the instruction or directive of an Umpire during a Match.
Players and team officials are not permitted to wear, display or otherwise convey personal messages on their equipment unless approved in advance by both player or team official’s cricket association and PCB Cricket Operations Department.”
According to the ICC code of conduct, “players shall not be allowed to display messages that carry political, religious, or racial activities or causes.”
“The young batter was fined 50% of his match fees. The batter was earlier warned by the referee not to display the unapproved logo (Palestine’s flag) on his bat as it would be a breach of the ICC code of conduct, of which the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is also a signatory,” a source close to the board told Geo News.
It was also reported that Azam had used the same sticker in the last two matches, but was not informed or warned by the officials prior to Sunday’s match.
The fine led to a furore on social media with cricket fans and people criticising the Board for imposing the fine.
The match in which Azam was fined was televised live. He was playing for the Karachi Whites against Lahore Blues.
Azam has not played for the national team since 2021 but is a well-known figure in Pakistan cricket circles due to his big-hitting abilities in the T20 format and is also a regular on the franchise cricket circuits worldwide.
During the recent ODI World Cup in India, Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batter Muhammad Rizwan had also tweeted in support of the Palestine people in Gaza but escaped any fine from the ICC which said it was his personal opinion.
With PTI inputs
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