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We Still Bleed Blue, Says Team India After Congress, SP MLAs Oppose 'Saffronisation' of Jerseys

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also said the jersey colour should not be politicised as the saffron colour is part of the India flag.


Updated:June 27, 2019, 11:41 AM IST
We Still Bleed Blue, Says Team India After Congress, SP MLAs Oppose 'Saffronisation' of Jerseys
Photos have started doing the round on social media which are claimed to be India's alternate kit (Photo Credit: Twitter)

New Delhi: The Indian cricket team's decision to pick orange for the 'alternate' jersey this World Cup has prompted some Congress and Samajawadi Party MLAs to complain that the sport is being saffronised under the Narendra Modi government.

The much-hyped jersey, which has been kept under wraps till now, will finally be worn by Virat Kohli and his men on Sunday as they take on England. According to the leaks so far, the jersey will be completely orange on the back and on the sides in the front.

This colour combination has not gone down well with some opposition MLAs, who say the colour is synonymous with the ruling BJP.

"For the past five years, the Modi-led government is trying to saffronise each and every thing. Be it sports, cultural activities or anything for that matter," Congress' Arif Naseem Khan told news agency ANI.

Samajwadi Party MLA from Mumbai, Abu Azim, too criticised the current government of trying enforce the colour on the nation.

"(Narendra) Modi wants to paint the entire country with saffron. Today, jerseys are being made saffron. Modi-ji, the person who decided the colours of the national flag was a Muslim leader. If you want to pick a colour for the jersey, pick the tricolour, I won't mind," Azim told reporters outside the state legislature on Wednesday.

"But it will be unjust if you paint everything saffron.....people should oppose it," Azmi said.

Naseem Khan, a Congress MLA from Mumbai, endorsed Azmi's charge of saffronisation. "Be it sports, culture or education...it is very unfortunate that saffron politics is being played. It is the tricolour which must be respected first...current government is taking the country towards saffronisation, which will damage the country's unity," Khan said.

The complaints elicited a quick response from Team India's bowling coach Bharat Arun, who while speaking to reporters at Old Trafford said he is not even aware of what the jerseys look like. "We have not given any thought to that, and all our focus is on the match. We bleed blue, right. Blue is going to be predominantly the colour and that's it," he said.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also said the jersey colour should not be politicised as the saffron colour is part of the India flag.

"I don't think there is a controversy here. There is a rule that when two teams with similar coloured jerseys play, the host team gets to keep its colours. Saffron colour is part of our flag so there should not be any reason to worry if it is part of our jersey. I don't think there is any reason for us to politicize this issue," he said.

He added that when we play in India, the Indian team should retain our big blue colour.

The alternate jerseys are part of a new change introduced by the International Cricket Council to help viewers differentiate between teams who wear similar colours.

The Indian cricket team may be seen sporting an orange jerseys when they take the field against England on June 30. Most teams, except Australia (who wear yellow), New Zealand (who wear black) and West Indies (who wear maroon), have been seen using another set of jerseys.

South Africa, who generally wear green with a splash of yellow, wore the reverse (dominantly yellow with patches of green) against Bangladesh, whereas Afghanistan sported a jersey with more areas of red added to their usual blue jerseys. Sri Lanka too wore a pre-dominantly yellow jersey against England.

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