The Indian cricket team extended a special gesture towards the Armed Forces and the martyrs of the Pulwama attack as captain Virat Kohli announced at the toss during India's third ODI against Australia in Ranchi on March 8 that all the team members will be donating their match fees to the National Defence Fund.
But Pakistan seems to have taken umbrage to India's act of solidarity towards the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans who lost their lives in the terror attack which took place in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on February 14. Apart from donating their match fees, all the members in the Indian squad – players, coaches and support staff alike – wore army camouflage caps as a sign of respect to those who lost their lives in the tragic incident.
The gesture was carried out in good faith but Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has taken an exception. He has asked the ICC to take note of the deed without being reminded by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to do so.
"The world saw that the Indian cricket team wore military caps instead of their own, did ICC not see this? We think that it is the ICC's responsibility to take notice of this without the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) bringing it up," Qureshi was quoted as saying by Pakistan media.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry echoed Qureshi's sentiment. "It's just not Cricket," Chaudhry tweeted in the evening, attaching a picture which showed Indian cricketers wearing the cap. "I hope ICC ll take action for politicising Gentleman's game ... if Indian Cricket team ll not be stopped, Pak Cricket team should wear black bands to remind The World about Indian atrocities in Kashmir... I urge #PCB to lodge formal protest," Chaudhury wrote.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli spoke about the decision at the toss before the game and urged everyone to make whatever contributions they can to the National Defence Fund. He called the army camouflage caps "very special".
"This is to pay respects to the martyrs of the Pulwama attack and their families. All the players in the team have decided to donate their match fees of this particular game to the National Defence Fund. I, as the captain of the team, urge everyone in the country to do the same - donate how much ever they can to the National Defence Fund and help in the education and the well-being of the family and the children of those who lost their lives in the attack so it is a very special cap and a very special game today," Kohli said at the toss.
#TeamIndia will be sporting camouflage caps today as mark of tribute to the loss of lives in Pulwama terror attack and the armed forces— BCCI (@BCCI) March 8, 2019
And to encourage countrymen to donate to the National Defence Fund for taking care of the education of the dependents of the martyrs #JaiHind pic.twitter.com/fvFxHG20vi
The captain scored a delightful century in the match but failed to guide his side to victory as they fell short by 32 runs chasing 314 to win. With the series poised 2-1 in favour of India, the fourth ODI will be played in Mohali on March 10.