The Gentlemen’s Game Ridiculed at the hands of Afghan Cricket Fans in UAE

John Millet
John Millet

It was the 13th century when the first reference to cricket appeared and the game gained popularity in the 17th century. Cricket became a popular sport when the English aristocrats started playing it. As per decree, the game was meant to be played in a gentlemanly manner, that means no cheating, sledging, temper tantrums, bodyline bowling. But unfortunately there are instances when the gentlemen’s game is disrespected by the players as well as their unruly supporters.

A similar incident took place during a match between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup 2022 being held in Sharjah cricket ground. It was a nail biting finish and at the end Pakistan won the match. The post-match scenarios were disturbing to watch around the world. What transpired was that instead of accepting the defeat of Afghanistan Cricket team, Afghan fans started fighting with the Pakistani crowd in the stadium and also ransacked the stadium’s infrastructure. They distorted essence of the game and left an irradicable scar to it.
As per sources privy to the developments, 97 Afghan nationals were arrested by the United Arab Emirates Police authorities for damaging the stadium and creating unprovoked unrest in and outside of the stadium. Reportedly, around 117 people have been arrested from the other parts of UAE who were involved in the violence against Pakistani cricket fans. As per the report, a total of 391 people have thusfar been arrested who are likely to face heavy fines and deportation from the UAE along with a lifetime ban of UAE visas.

Afghan cricket fans hurled chairs at the Pakistani fans and vandalized the stadium. Moreover, they were also involved in scattered fist-fights outside the stadium premises following their last over defeat to Pakistan and being knocked out of the tournament. Those who play and follow the sport of cricket know that the ethics of the game demand accepting the defeat and then working on the weaknesses. At the end there is only one team who will win so the other party and their supporters must play fair and show respect to the game.

Everything was going great and the match was being played in high spirits with players from both sides sharing laughs and hugs then after a tense turn of event that involved Pakistani cricketer Asif Ali and Afghanistan’s fast bowler Fareed Ahmed in an ugly altercation. The Afghan cricketer later accepted his mistake and apologized from the Pakistani player on his unbecoming behavior. But in the ground the Afghan fans crossed every limit and tried to pick a dangerous path that led to the post-match upsetting environment. Cricket lovers across the globe criticized this act displayed by the Afghan supporters and linked this violence with the blind obsession of Afghan players and their fans with Indian Premier League that urges them to go against Pakistan. ICC also took notice of the event and so did the UAE administration to make sure such incidents must not be repeated. Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ramiz Raja has also protested and condemned the incident and have decided to officially take up the matter to ICC against Afghanistan Cricket Board for spoiling spirit of the game and initiating unprovoked ruckus in & outside the stadium against Pakistan Cricket fans.

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