Azam Khan fined for displaying Palestine flag on his bat during National T20 tournament in Karachi

In a significant turn of events during the National T20 tournament in Karachi, Pakistani cricketer Azam Khan has been handed a 50% match fee fine for displaying the flag of Palestine on his bat. The 22-year-old, son of former Pakistan captain Moin Khan, breached the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) regulations that strictly prohibit the exhibition of unapproved logos or any form of political messaging on cricket equipment.

Azam Khan fined for displaying Palestine flag on his bat during National T20 tournament in Karachi

Azam Khan, representing Southern Punjab, showcased the Palestine flag on his bat handle during the second semi-final against Northern. Despite scoring 18 runs off 12 balls, Khan’s symbolic gesture led to repercussions as Southern Punjab suffered an 11-run defeat, failing to secure a spot in the final.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed the fine, stating, “Azam Khan was found guilty of violating Article 2.5 of the PCB Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to using clothing or equipment that is not approved by the ICC.”

This incident draws parallels with past instances of cricketers expressing solidarity with political causes during matches. England’s Moeen Ali, for instance, faced ICC reprimands in 2014 for wearing ‘Save Gaza’ wristbands in an international match against India.

While Azam Khan’s action stands out, it’s worth noting that other Pakistani cricketers, including Babar Azam, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, and Usama Mir, have voiced support for Palestine on social media. They shared messages and images under the hashtag #WeStandWithPalestine, particularly amid the recent escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

As Azam Khan contemplates his response to the fine, the incident underscores the broader debate within cricket about the intersection of personal expression, political statements, and the sport’s regulations.

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