Cricket team captain rejects criticism from parliamentarians, maintains he is merely paying tribute to Pakistan Army trainers.
Pakistan Test team captain Misbah-ul-Haq on Saturday defended the celebratory push-ups his players do after high-profile successes, despite government criticism back home.
Push-ups took off as a unique way for the national team to celebrate following a Test against England in July when Haq himself first dropped to the ground to flex his muscles. But on Wednesday, a parliamentarian of the ruling PMLN party, Rana Mohammad Afzal, objected to the manner of celebration.
“The push-ups are not related to cricket,” Afzal said during a standing committee meeting in Islamabad. “What message are Misbah and other players giving to the world by doing push-ups?”
Haq hit back at the criticism and insisted the celebration was merely a “tribute to the Pakistan Army trainers” with whom the squad had attended a fitness camp prior to touring England. “It should not have happened,” said Haq when asked about the objection by Afzal. “I think our message was clear that it’s not any disrespect to the opponents or to show anything else. It’s a gesture to people we worked with [Army trainers] and a promise that we will give tribute to them.”
Haq made the push-ups a trademark Pakistani style of celebration after scoring a century in the Lord’s Test against England in July. The entire team then performed push-ups after winning that Test.
The style became an instant hit as Lord’s groundsmen, a television commentator, and hundreds of fans in Pakistan copied it.
Pakistan’s opener Azhar Ali also did push-ups on scoring a triple-century in the Dubai Test of the ongoing series against West Indies.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) executive committee Chairman Najam Sethi told the committee that it was up to the players to celebrate in whatever manner they liked. “Push-ups are done at the discretion of players,” Sethi said.
Haq said players can still celebrate in whatever manner they want. “It was simple and there was no controversy in our minds,” he said. “It’s [up to] everyone’s discretion, but we know there is no negative thing in our minds. As far as the push-ups, there is no ban from the PCB and any player can celebrate in whatever manner he can, but it should not be disrespect to the game or anyone.”