Punjab Cricket association removes pictures of Pakistani players from Mohali stadium
The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) on Sunday removed the pictures of all Pakistani players that adorned its stadium walls in Phase 9, Mohali.
The moves comes three days after a suicide bomber attack on Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, deadliest in the Valley.
Confirming the news, PCA secretary RP Singla said it was a voluntary decision and a team was formed to comb the entire premises to remove framed pictures of Pakistani cricketers.
“We as an association decided to do it on our own with no pressure from anyone. We have removed all the pictures. The entire nation is shocked by what happened in Pulwama. Keeping the public sentiments in mind, we have taken the decision,” said Singla.
The frames, around a dozen in number, are official match pictures, including that of the crowd during the 2011 World Cup semifinal between the arch rivals, besides candid shots of players, including Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, former pacer Wasim Akram and former captain and coach Javed Miandad.
‘War and sports can’t go hand-in-hand’
“Sportsman spirit is one thing but the association feels that war and sports cannot hand-in-hand. Everybody is disturbed with the terror attack and the association has made a humble effort to show solidarity with the nation,” said treasurer Ajay Tyagi.
PCA has a rich history of hosting Pakistan on a number of occasions in all the three formats of the game. This includes one Test match way back in 2005. The ground has seen two T20 internationals involving Pakistan, which has also featured in seven ODIs, including the high-voltage 2011 World Cup semifinal.
The last was attended by the top leaders of both the countries, including the then prime ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani.
The association even had former Pakistan captain and coach Intikhab Alam as its Ranji team coach for two seasons from 2004-06. He was appointed again in 2008-09 but couldn’t join as he was made the manager of the Pakistan team. He was coach of the Pakistan team that won the 1992 World Cup.
Earlier, on Saturday, the Cricket Club of India (CCI) in Mumbai had covered a portrait of Imran Khan in its canteen as a mark of protest.