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The PCB said that it is investigating religious comments by batsman Shehzad to Sri Lanka player Tillakaratne Dilshan. -AP Photo
The PCB said that it is investigating religious comments by batsman Shehzad to Sri Lanka player Tillakaratne Dilshan. -AP Photo

ISLAMABAD: Religious comments by Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad to Sri Lanka player Tillakaratne Dilshan after their one-day international last Saturday are being investigated by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

While the players were walking back to the dressing room in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, Shehzad was caught on camera telling Dilshan “if you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven. “

Dilshan's reply was not audible, and Shehzad went on to say, “Then be ready for the fire.“

Shehzad was summoned to PCB headquarters in Lahore on Wednesday and asked about his comments, board general manager media Agha Akbar told the Associated Press.

“Ahmed has informed the PCB that it was his personal chat with Dilshan, and there was nothing more to it,” Akbar said.

“What we understand is that no Sri Lanka Cricket official or our own manager lodged any complaint.“

However, Akbar said the PCB was still investigating the matter. Dilshan was born to a Muslim father and a Buddhist mother and was known as Tuwan Mohamed Dilshan.

He shed his Muslim name shortly after his international debut in 1999 and took up the name Tillakaratne Mudiyanselage Dilshan with an ethnic Sinhalese-Buddhist identity.

His childhood coach Ranjan Paranavitana said even though Dilshan carried a Muslim name, he and his brothers and sisters followed their mother's religion from their childhood.

Dilshan scored an unbeaten 50 on Saturday and powered the home team to a seven-wicket victory in the ODI series decider.

Comments (111) Closed

Concered!! Sep 03, 2014 06:20pm

I think he should join Jamaat instead of Cricket team, its a noble cause but when playing, he should concentrate on game i think.

khurram Zia Khan Sep 03, 2014 06:23pm

PCB should investigate this matter thoroughly. The words echoed by Shahzad if they are true showed his frustration and his limited thinking. Religion is a sensitive matter for all and it is always advisable not to speak on this matter. Hope PCB able to show some teeth to prevent happening of such incidents in future.

Hussain Sep 03, 2014 06:29pm

If no complain was made by the Srilankan squad, then there was no point in making this news.

KRana Sep 03, 2014 06:38pm

what a shame

think_then_speak Sep 03, 2014 06:55pm

Sports and religion needs to kept apart. If Dilshan had said something bad about religion then it would have spoiled the name of PCB and Pakistan. The players need an advice to restrain from such adventures on cricket ground. When you are in a stadium, you represent the nation. It would be a bad tradition to tarnish inter-religion tolerance.

Ammar Sep 03, 2014 06:55pm


Yasser Masood Sep 03, 2014 07:15pm

No free ticket to heaven even if you're a Muslim, Islam puts strict emphasis on practice and humble preaching.

Citizen26 Sep 03, 2014 07:16pm

Another silly error by Pakistani player.

Syed Zaheer Ali Sep 03, 2014 07:20pm

It is said that "If it is not broken; don't fix it". If nobody complained don't make a case. It is about time to concentrate on the performance of our players, particularly our captain.

Ronnie Sep 03, 2014 07:30pm

Thanks, inzamam!

Waqas Sep 03, 2014 07:31pm

I don't understand why this is being presented in such a bad light. It probably was said jokingly and they're probably mates off the field. People are too quick to assume that there was an insult in this dialogue. There wasn't a complaint lodged because they're probably was no offense caused.

Ahmer Sep 03, 2014 07:48pm

Religion is a private matter, why do some people need to shove their beliefs on others. If I was head of PCB and if this was proven right, I would've had suspended him for few games at least, so he could learn his lesson.

Ali Sep 03, 2014 08:08pm

If shezad wud become like Dilshan, he could have score run like him

Shahid Sep 03, 2014 08:12pm

Freed of speech guys, freedom of speech! If not complaint was lodged by either side then just move on.

nauman Sep 03, 2014 08:16pm

What people are making an issue out of it. It was a personal chat. No worries about it.

Husnain Sep 03, 2014 08:20pm

As it is said: 'Little knowledge is more dangerous then no knowledge.' This kind of incidents will keep happening when our players are not well-educated or not well-groomed mentally. He should have been asking Dilshan about his batting & fielding techniques. It's everyone's personal matter that what religion one follows. You can preach, but better yourself first.Thanks.

sami Sep 03, 2014 08:23pm

From PCB there should be code of conduct to be followed in cricket field. Players should know the penalty for all the offenses. Before every international tour PCB has to update this code to the players.

If players don't follow simply penalize them. Does PCB(with 700/800 employes) has some thing like that???

Sayyar Khan Sep 03, 2014 08:28pm

Stupidity at its best.

Ali Sep 03, 2014 09:13pm

It's a personal chat, no body complained. No harm to discuss religion in social gatherings as long as this is not hurting anyone.

Yousafzai Sep 03, 2014 09:47pm

Why so much fuss about this? as long as it was a private chat between the two, who cares what he said??

dr.Sehar Khan Sep 03, 2014 09:48pm

@khurram Zia Khan ... Well Said Sir!!!

Peace Sep 03, 2014 10:16pm

@Shahid : yes sir, imagine if this statement came from other side, would you still consider this a freedom of speech!

JackDomm Sep 03, 2014 10:29pm

Shahzad just cant stay away out of trouble!

Rogers Evans Sep 03, 2014 10:54pm

This guy is big-headed and problem maker. PCB needs to take good care of him.

JMT Sep 03, 2014 11:02pm

All the people saying no need to raise this issue please think if it was reverse. How would it affect your personal as well as national pride?

Hasan Sep 03, 2014 11:25pm

This just reveals the level of religious knowledge of an average Muslim who has never read the Quran with an effort understand it. This is a failure of the parents, a failure of the education system, and a failure of the PCB. The PCB is responsible for the training of these sports ambassadors of the country. I wonder if there is program set up in this regard. Education and Training (tarbiyah) followed by testing has to be an integral part of public relations in every State institution.

Harmony Sep 03, 2014 11:27pm

Farraz Sep 03, 2014 11:37pm

if this is personal chat then it should not be on headlines. over efficiency by PCB but not where required.

syed Sep 03, 2014 11:41pm

@Yasser Masood True

itrat Sep 03, 2014 11:52pm

@Yasser Masood yup, that's a fact, but what can you expect from our players? They are as insensitive as our society.

itrat Sep 03, 2014 11:54pm

@Peace not at all. But a person should mind his own business. In this case , playing for pakistan .

abc Sep 03, 2014 11:57pm

He was only showing someone the correct path to take. Why is PCB making a issue out of it.

M. Siddique Sep 03, 2014 11:59pm

@Hussain, Shehzad has no business talking faith, it does not matter of how Dilshan responded. It is a shameful and it is news.

a Sep 04, 2014 12:28am

a messed up mindset -there can not be anything personal when it is on field and on a tour

Umair bhai Sep 04, 2014 12:43am

@Concered!! I think he should've said this in test series just to mess up with his mind.

Umair bhai Sep 04, 2014 12:47am

Imagine if Dishan had said to him that if u convert to bhudhism you'll also be able to score runs like me.

sameer Sep 04, 2014 02:10am

Even if we do not believe he's doing him a favor, religion is part of life and talking about life should not be considered offensive. PCB has nothing to do with it. Leave players alone.

Raj Sep 04, 2014 02:33am

There is no need to penalize to any player but provide full code of conduct which is must be following by every player . Players should be more educated then he capable to decide what is right or wrong in life. Nobody can get safe move to heaven due to Their religion following and faith . Worship is great rather than any religion, it decide that which person is best for human being .

Mack Sep 04, 2014 02:55am

If no complaint was lodged by Dilshan, then why give this news a prominence ?Press thrives on sensationalism, for no reason, it has started a controversy.PCB should stay out of it.

Lalith Sep 04, 2014 03:07am

@abc ,When come to someone correct parth could be others badest parth. It is upto individuals.

Harmony Sep 04, 2014 03:58am

Pakistani cricketers need to educated not to bring religion in a game of cricket. Why Izamam's legacy still prevails?

Fazal Sep 04, 2014 04:55am

I blame our Cricket Board. They should be teaching the players on how to conduct/present themselves, stay away from corruption, etc. When our cricket board is incapable of running professionally, what do you expect the players to do?

iiyasir Sep 04, 2014 05:02am

Recent events taking place in the country have made me realize we should ban cricket. A sport hardly played outside 4 commonwealth countries has brought only misrepute. From match fixers, cheaters, drug addicts and a egocentric politician whose cult has attacked from state institutions to brave police officers. We should look towards Olympic sports.

Sohail Sep 04, 2014 05:45am

@Farraz Dilshan could have slapped him back and claimed the slap to be "personal" . How about that ?

Fahd Siddiqui Sep 04, 2014 05:45am

An issue for no reason. Let me get this right, players swear at eachother on the field and that's not noteworthy. This was a personal chat. They have a life beyond the fid as well. Over efficiency where none was required.

Mustafa Sep 04, 2014 06:00am

Exactly what rule has been violated here?

Afghan Maihan Sep 04, 2014 06:31am

@abc How do you know what the correct path is? Has someone from the hereafter spoken to you? The correct path is to find your own path and let others find theirs. All religions and the followers of said religions think theirs is the chosen path. God has no religion, my friend.

Muhammad Hamza Sep 04, 2014 07:23am

I dont think so,that its a matter of making issue,Shezad did not say any thing that hurt the sentiments of Dilshan,he just simply give dawah,I advice PCB to concerntrate on many other serious issue to make cricket of Pakistan better and dont interfear the personal life of others

Afghan Maihan Sep 04, 2014 07:46am

Shahzad pulled the "Brimstone and Fire" card. How original! Buddhists don't believe in heaven and he'll. What a simpleton!

Khan be dastarkhwan Sep 04, 2014 08:13am

Cricket is like a Shakespeare play replete with corruption, greed, deception, sorcerers, clerics, demagogues and proselytizers.

joe Sep 04, 2014 09:19am

If this can happen to a players of another country..and in other country, I can very well imagine what must be condition of a NON Muslim player of Pakistan cricket team.. i am sure he must be shown door to HEAVEN daily..

Prashant Kumar Sep 04, 2014 09:37am

Dilshan was born to a Muslim father and a Buddhist mother and was known as Tuwan Mohamed Dilshan. He shed his Muslim name shortly after his international debut in 1999 and took up the name Tillakaratne Mudiyanselage Dilshan with an ethnic Sinhalese-Buddhist identity.

So perhaps Shahzad wanted him back.. And its no surprise what he might have said and thought about Shahzad's offer.

Abhiahek Sep 04, 2014 09:45am

@Shahid free speech comes with responsibility.

Gokul Paravoor Sep 04, 2014 10:16am

@Mustafa you are probably too 'civilized' to understand that!

Saj king khan Sep 04, 2014 10:17am

That's what most retired cricketers do !!! I have seen most of them @ matches here in uk . Including inzi , junaid etc . Is he gonna retire soon?? Good career move!!!

Sohail Sep 04, 2014 10:22am

What Ahmed Shehzad said to Dilshan is characteristic of the religious intolerance and bigotry which are prevalent in Pakistan. His self-righteousness should be highlighted and condemned by the PCB. If enough people don't speak up against issues like these, we will continue to breed a generation of bigots and religious zealots who use instruments like the Blasphemy Law to persecute and kill anyone who does not conform to their set of beliefs.

Zahir Sep 04, 2014 10:25am

Who is to say that shehzad started preaching Islam all of a sudden. Maybe dilshan asked something or maybe it was just a friendly chat. I'm sure no one will go and tell every non Muslim that convert to Islam. I hope it's not a big deal. Shehzad is one good player that can become a great for Pakistan.

Rehan Sep 04, 2014 10:52am

bravo .... Shahzad !!! work and worship should always go together .....

Ravi Dallas TX Sep 04, 2014 11:00am

Why are most of Pakistani players so obsessed with religion? There is no problem in following religion strictly , but you don't push that into others' throats. Something fundamentally wrong going on with the players.

mansoor Sep 04, 2014 11:25am

Good Muslim boy, just been pulverized but more interested in life after. Should be rewarded with highest religious award for spreading Islam in adversary. Is it not anti islamic to do this investigation and should we charge the PCB Chairman with blasphamey? How dare he.

being human Sep 04, 2014 11:59am

i think pcb should hold grooming classes for it's players and advise them on how to talk to people of different cultures and what not to say.

Farzan Sep 04, 2014 12:00pm

What further investigation is required when there's documented proof that Ahmed Shehzad said this. Such acts should not be tolerated.

Arvind Sep 04, 2014 12:36pm

@Ronnie your two words explains the whole thing.

Sandeep Singh Sep 04, 2014 12:51pm

Many people are saying that its just a freedom of speech and a personal chat..

Surendar CJ Sep 04, 2014 12:55pm

Previously it was Shoiab Mallik who

Ahmed2020 Sep 04, 2014 12:57pm

The fact that this item has been provided the main space on dawn shows the tilt of dawn and its editors. I dont see any issue as long as it stays between the players. After all my Indian colleagues speak about "supposed superiority" of Hinduis. But its not a big deal, anyone can say what they want to say, Dilshan or in my example, myself, is a mature person who could decide for himself. People frequently talk about taboo subjects but its okay as along as their is no coercion involved. So I would request Dawn to shed this apologetic attitude. As for Shehzad belief's about hellfire, its his personal belief, which might not have anything to do with true religion, again I do not see any issues here. I do not understand that hoopla around this.

Intelligent Sep 04, 2014 01:22pm

He should have just replied to him - "You and your country will become much more peaceful if you convert to Buddhism ( Buddhist as your forefathers were),may be possible your country will become look like heaven"

Goga Nalaik Sep 04, 2014 01:23pm

Guest Sep 04, 2014 01:45pm

So the so called "Large Hearted" pakistanis do not even have heart to tolerate a player's religions, who isn't even playing in their team, to let him play with them in peace and mind his own business.

I totally understand what Yousaf Yohana had gone through while playing under senior like Inzamam, Saqlain and Mushtaq.

Qadir Sep 04, 2014 01:51pm

What a noble initiative taken by Ahmed Shehzad. I think all player should be encouraged to give dawah to non-muslim players of all teams, including Pakistan, to earn saw'ab to secure there place in jannah.

Pakistan Cricket Board should be renamed to Pakistani Dawah and cricket board under leader ship of Inzamam.

raj Sep 04, 2014 01:54pm

I think PCB should hire some molanas instead of cricketing skilled coaches for the good performance of Pakistani cricket team.

Sharjeel Sep 04, 2014 02:05pm

Well no doubt preaching Islam is one of the best work but there is a way to preach someone. First need to make someone understand that what is Islam then start preaching. The way he preached leaves the bad impression of Muslims or Islam.

Mobeen Tahir Sep 04, 2014 02:21pm

It was probably just two friends talking but it is good that PCB is looking into it. If nothing else, it will be educational for Shahzad not to discuss Religion, Gender, Sexual Bias or Race as a sports ambassador representing Pakistan.

Shankar Sep 04, 2014 02:37pm

@abc Correct path indeed ! You guys are simply out of the world.

ranga Sep 04, 2014 02:50pm

@abc And I tell you that all you guys are on the wrong path. Revert or you will regret!!

Qazi Sep 04, 2014 03:00pm

It is silly on part of BCP that they have started investigation on a private chat between two cricketers. Let's talk in some sense. This is an example of excessive intervention of media in our society.

Observer Sep 04, 2014 03:31pm

PCB should not probe personal matters!

Mohammed Hanif Sep 04, 2014 04:20pm

May be he should concentrate on his game a bit more. If he is that keen to promote religion, the n give up cricket and do tableegh instead.

On second thoughts, the way some of the Pakistani team play a little divine intervention may be in order!!

tk Sep 04, 2014 05:13pm

@abc it is worst path of humanity. No pun seeing the world around as Islam is. He made a good decision to be what he is.

Valiya Sep 04, 2014 05:36pm

@nauman Religion also a personal matter, why somebody interfering somebody,s religious matter.

Valiya Sep 04, 2014 05:38pm

@Ali You are telling no harm to discuss religion in that way, but if Dilshan do the same your reaction will be same?

Vijai Murugan Sep 04, 2014 06:03pm

@Ravi Dallas TX Not just players my friend

Weirdity Sep 04, 2014 06:10pm

@khurram Zia Khan "The words echoed by Shahzad if they are true"

I can confirm that its true. I saw the video which had an audio track.

Nadman Texas Sep 04, 2014 06:19pm

Shehzads statement goes to show the Illiterate mindset of the whole team. Education is a must for these folks. They come from the streets with obtuse thinking and street mentality. A little fame with them really messes with their mind and they actually start believing that they are above all, just like the Jahil Mullahs. It would serve PCB well to educate them in forward thinking and ways of the world, where the platform is. I do not consider folks like these as Ambassadors of Pakistan. A quick fix is to place a gag order on them in talking to any external international player.

Kris Sep 04, 2014 06:25pm

A little advise for you. Convert to a better player and you will straight get entry into Pakistan side. Otherwise you are straight going to get fired! :-)

Weirdity Sep 04, 2014 06:28pm

@Mobeen Tahir "It was probably just two friends talking but it is good that PCB is looking into it." I seriously doubt if a guy like Dilshan will have an obvious zealot like Shehzad as a friend.

Sal Sep 04, 2014 07:10pm

People who think that it is private matter are mistaken. He made the comments on a cricket field while he was still in the team uniform, so he must go through disciplinary consequences. I agree with other comments that the players need to go through basic etiquette training to represent a nation at an international level. A lot of Pakistanis (not all) have a problem with intolerance and biases that surface time after time, whether it is religion (non-Muslims or any sect outside of major Sunnis) or color of skin, I have noticed that we joke about it like it is OK to make fun and judge people who are different. Kids learn to judge at an early age and they represent these biased feelings/emotions later in life. No one is superior based on religion, ethnicity and color of skin.

Shailesh Sep 04, 2014 07:31pm

The only rule he violated was that of common sense. His parents and the Muslims must be so proud!

Khizr Sep 04, 2014 07:54pm

Shahzad should be getting tips from Dilshan instead. He should also go through diversity / sensitivity training.

Moin Sep 04, 2014 08:04pm

Why should some talk going on between two individuals become a news? Does any one know why and how this talk started between them?

Nazir Ahmed Sep 04, 2014 08:13pm

Naughty Shahzad. Just joking with his friend! Why so fury.

peacelover Sep 04, 2014 08:13pm

Surprised by the comments here that if there's no complaint, then why this is the news. let me put it around ,what if Dilshan would have said something like that "Convert to Budhism, and straight to heaven or get ready for fire". what would have these people said ?? This all sounds like a referral scheme to me, like Amway type stuff, make more members and earn more money.. whether the scheme is good for them or not, why care.. LOL

Sanjay Sep 04, 2014 11:42pm

Now I know the reason for high crime rate among muslims. They think that no matter what they do - they have aplace in heaven. And what has Shahzad to say about muslims killing muslims. Will both go to heaven ?

Harry Sep 04, 2014 11:43pm

@abc idiotic comment. People like you bring bad name to Islam.

Mohammad Ali Sep 05, 2014 12:56am

I think probe should be against PCB for not providing proper training and guidance to the cricketers

Nag Sep 05, 2014 01:19am

@Syed Zaheer Ali it is about preventing from breaking next time.

Raj Modi Sep 05, 2014 05:07am

How stupid of this man!!!! This is 2014, and he's brain washed to say "if you become muslim, no matter what you do, you go straight to haven".

No wonder Islamic state and other terror groups are able to recruit such stupid people and send them to straigh to Haven.

Naren Sep 05, 2014 05:59am

@Nazir Ahmed ...Really?

pier wasif Sep 05, 2014 07:21am

i do not understand why did Dawn publish this news?

Setu Madhavan Sep 05, 2014 08:41am

@Muhammad Hamza "He simply gave dawah". Since when did it become Shehzad's job to distribute religious dawah to other team's cricket players. I would think Shehzad and his team mates need some dawah themselves to improve their cricket (which by the way is what they are on the field for, not distributing unsolicited dawah).

rudra Sep 05, 2014 08:51am

Shame on pakistan. This is the general mindset of pakistanis

Abdul Malik Sep 05, 2014 03:12pm

@Shahid When a Pakistani player does that it is 'Freedom of speech'. If a Sri Lankan had done that ?

Abdul Malik Sep 05, 2014 03:17pm

@joe There are no non Muslim players in Pakistani cricket team.

samir Sep 05, 2014 06:59pm

@Mustafa : the most important RULE as a human being "TOLERANCE". are u not a human?

Hameed Sep 05, 2014 08:16pm

@Shahid Yes Freedom of "Speech" exactly not Freedom of Rudeness and Arrogance.

Hussain Sep 06, 2014 09:29am

@Qadir : Please oh please tell me you were just being sarcastic and you didn't really mean it. Holding my breath...

Ikbal buland Sep 06, 2014 10:49am

Now we have CRICKET JIHAD.

Ikbal buland Sep 06, 2014 10:51am

Now we know why poor Dinesh converted to Danish.

mike ghaous USA Sep 06, 2014 10:50pm

Reminds of Inzi & co days

Ahsan Sep 07, 2014 10:48am

If you are a perfect Muslim then you may preach your religion otherwise others will point out your shortcomings and will make you answer less.

Laeeq,NY Sep 07, 2014 04:17pm

What a primitive thinking. People need to find out who are this guys mentors.