Today in New Delhi, India
Oct 18, 2018-Thursday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Kiwi captain slammed over booze ad

New Zealand cricket captain Stephen Fleming on Tuesday was accused of insulting the memory of Mahatma Gandhi after he was photographed for a liquor advertisement in the independence leader's dry home state. Politicians in the state of Gujarat condemned the photo shoot, for a brand of whisky, as an "insult".

india Updated: Oct 08, 2003 00:28 IST

New Zealand cricket captain Stephen Fleming on Tuesday was accused of insulting the memory of Mahatma Gandhi after he was photographed for a liquor advertisement in the independence leader's dry home state.

Politicians in the state of Gujarat condemned the photo shoot, for a brand of whisky, as an "insult".

"It's an insult to the people of Gujarat," said a spokesman of the opposition Congress party in the state.

"This is a dry state, the birthplace of Gandhiji who is the father of the nation. Fleming should not have done the advertisement here."

The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules the state, also criticised the visiting skipper, who will lead his team against India in the first of a two-Test series here on Wednesday.

"Cricket is hugely popular in our country and any visiting team should keep in mind Indian sentiments while playing here," BJP official Raju Dhruv said.

A bewildered Fleming apologised for the photo shoot, carried out in the town of Rajkot near here.

"I wasn't aware of the impact it would have on the culture and I apologise if it's offended anyone," he said.

"It was just a photo shoot in plain clothes near a dam."

Despite speculation that a rival liquor company had provoked the politicians and local press to react, New Zealand team manager Lindsay Crocker went out of his way to soothe frayed tempers.

"There was no offence intended or implied against state regulations or any historical figure," Crocker said, adding Fleming was only honouring a contract with the firm.

Gandhi was a strong advocate of prohibition, a concept endorsed by India's constitution.

The first Test match starts at the Motera stadium here on Wednesday. The second Test will be played in the northern town of Mohali before world champions Australia join India and New Zealand for a limited-overs triangular.

First Published: Oct 07, 2003 17:21 IST