Former Pakistani players Wednesday hit out after Bangladesh banned their own fans from waving non-Bangladeshi flags at the ongoing World Twenty20 tournament.
Hosts Bangladesh issued the order after an outcry over images of locals waving Pakistani flags during the recent Asia Cup. Bangladesh was part of Pakistan before the 1971 war of independence, in which it says three million people were killed—most at the hands of the Pakistan Army and its allied militias. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) made the ruling on Tuesday, on the eve of the country’s 44th independence day.
Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad said the move violated the spirit of the game. “I am surprised at the decision,” he said. “Cricket is a game which harbors sportsman spirit and this decision violates that spirit.”
Another former captain, Mohammad Yousuf, urged the BCB to rethink. “I am sure that the BCB will take this decision back because it defies logic and I am sure the International Cricket Council will seek some explanation,” Yousuf said.
Yousuf, who played 90 Tests and 288 ODIs for Pakistan, said he had always been warmly received in Bangladesh. “I have seen the home fans want to support Pakistan whenever their own team is not competing against us,” he said.
Younis Khan, another former captain, agreed Bangladesh should reconsider their decision. “It is against the spirit of the game as you cannot stop anyone from supporting his favorite team,” he said.
Bangladesh and Pakistan face each other in a potentially crucial World T20 group match in Mirpur on Sunday.