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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Cricket

Pakistan opener asks Dilshan to embrace Islam
AP
Islamabad, September 04, 2014
First Published: 00:38 IST(4/9/2014)
Last Updated: 09:21 IST(4/9/2014)

Religious comments by Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad to Sri Lanka player Tillakaratne Dilshan after a recent one-day game are being investigated by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

While the players were walking back to the dressing room in Dambulla Sri Lanka, on August 30, Shehzad, 22, was caught on camera telling the explosive Lankan batsman, “If you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven.”

While Dilshan’s reply was not audible, Shehzad went on to say, “Then be ready for the fire.”

Shehzad, who made his Test debut this year, was summoned to PCB headquarters in Lahore on Wednesday and asked about his comments, board general manager (media) Agha Akbar told the Associated Press.

“Ahmed has informed the PCB that it was his personal chat with Dilshan, and there was nothing more to it,” Akbar said. “What we understand is that no Sri Lanka Cricket official or our own manager lodged any complaint.”

However, Akbar said the PCB was still investigating the matter.

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Dilshan, 37, was born to a Muslim father and a Buddhist mother and was known as Tuwan Mohamed Dilshan.

He shed his Muslim name shortly after his international debut in 1999 and took up the name Tillakaratne Mudiyanselage Dilshan with an ethnic Sinhalese-Buddhist identity.

His childhood coach Ranjan Paranavitana said even though Dilshan carried a Muslim name, he, his brothers and sisters followed their mother’s religion from childhood.

Dilshan scored an unbeaten 50 in the match and powered the home team to a seven-wicket victory in the ODI series decider.


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