Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 2013-09-03
Australian leg Spinner Fawad Ahmed has been exempted by Cricket Australia from wearing the sponsorship logo of beer brand VB because of Islam’s ban on alcohol.
Pakistan-born Ahmed, who became an Australian citizen in July after his application was fast-tracked, did not have the brewer's logo on his shirt during his international debut in last week's T20 matches against England.
Mike McKenna, Cricket Australia's executive general manager for operations, said the player first raised the issue when he was selected for the Australia A tour of Britain in June.
"Fawad expressed discomfort with the conflict this created for him, due to his religious beliefs. Cricket Australia and Carlton United Breweries (CUB) are respectful of Fawad's personal beliefs and have agreed with his request to wear an unbranded shirt,” said Mckenna.
Mckenna added that CUB have been a long-standing partner of Australian cricket for more than 17 years and Fawad was thankful for their understanding of his personal situation.
“I have never had the drink in my life," Ahmed said earlier. “There is no contact with alcohol for me; even I am not wearing the logo on my cricket shirt."
There was one awkward moment involving alcohol in the Victorian camp. Celebrating a stirring win, the Bushrangers sprayed champagne around the dressing room, with Ahmed uncomfortable to be among those who were soaked.
Skipper Cameron White had a chat with him outside the dressing room door and all learned from the experience. "The players respect that and it is a good thing for them, too," Ahmed said.
"They are asking so many questions about my tradition and my culture and especially about my religion.
"All of the teams, the whole country, everyone has really respected my religion, my tradition. I have never had a single problem about my prayers, (whether it be) at the train station or the bus stop or the cricket ground, in the player rooms.
South African batsman Hashim Amla, also a Muslim, is another player in a similar situation and has been permitted not to wear the logo of Cricket South Africa sponsor Castle, a beer company, on his kit.