Pakistan’s wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan once again garnered attention by offering namaz on the ground during a World Cup 2023 match against England. This offered the prayers during the drinks break, reminiscent of his previous on-field prayer at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad during a match against the Netherlands.
However, this gesture has not been without controversy. Previously, Vineet Jindal, an advocate of the Supreme Court of India, lodged a complaint with the International Cricket Council (ICC) against Rizwan for his on-ground namaz. Jindal said, “The act of Mohammad Rizwan when he read namaz on the cricket field amid many Indians is symbolic of the intentional depiction of his religion which stands against the spirit of the sports.” The complaint also alleged that Rizwan’s religious representation on the field and dedication of his victory to the people of Gaza in a press conference reflects a religious and political ideology.
On Saturday, Pakistan faced defeat against England, crushing their slim hopes of reaching the semi-finals. England posted a formidable total of 337 runs for nine wickets in 50 overs, overshadowing Pakistan’s 244-run response in 43.3 overs. Key batsmen, including Babar (38 off 45 balls) and Mohammad Rizwan (36 off 51 balls), struggled against Adil Rashid’s googlies (2/55 in 10 overs) and David Willey’s incisive swinging deliveries (3/56 in 10 overs).
With this defeat, Pakistan’s chances of qualifying for the semi-finals became non-existent. Even a miraculous performance, involving hitting 40 consecutive sixes in 6.4 overs, would not have been enough to surpass England’s total and overtake New Zealand on net run rate.