In a surprising turn of events, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to waive the 50% match fee fine imposed on Azam Khan for displaying the Palestine flag on his bat during the ongoing National T20 Cup in Karachi. Azam, a key player for Karachi Whites, had incurred the penalty for his refusal to remove the Palestine flag sticker during a match against Lahore Blues.
The incident occurred on Sunday when Azam Khan, the wicketkeeper-batter, was fined by the PCB match referee for violating Article 2.4 of the PCB Code of Conduct. This specific violation was related to Azam’s repeated failure to comply with the instructions or directives of the umpire during the match.
The PCB, in an unexpected move, has chosen to completely waive the 50% match fee fine imposed on Azam Khan. The statement released by the cricket board did not provide any explicit reason for this decision, leaving fans and cricket enthusiasts curious about the underlying circumstances. Additionally, the PCB did not clarify whether Azam has agreed to remove the Palestine flag sticker from his bat for the remaining matches of the National T20 Cup.
In an official release, the PCB stated, “Azam Khan’s 50 percent fine imposed by match officials has been reviewed and waived off by the Pakistan Cricket Board.”
The release further mentioned that the fine was initially imposed for committing a level-1 offense during the National T20 Cup 2023-24 match against Lahore Blues at the National Bank Stadium in Karachi.
The incident also sheds light on the ICC rules, which strictly prohibit players and team officials from displaying personal messages on their equipment without prior approval. According to these rules, any such messages must be approved in advance by both the player or team official’s cricket association and the PCB’s cricket operations department.
Azam Khan, known for his explosive batting in T20 cricket, has represented Pakistan in five T20 Internationals, including two against Afghanistan earlier this year. His powerful hitting style has made him a sought-after player in franchise cricket leagues around the world.
The incident also draws parallels with a similar expression of solidarity during the ODI World Cup in India, where Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan tweeted in support of the Palestinian people in Gaza.