India

India cricket team's orange kit plans sparks political row

India's Mohammed Shami (L) celebrates with teammates Image copyright AFP
Image caption The team cannot wear their usual blue kit against England

India's political opposition have criticised rumoured plans for the national cricket team to wear orange in a forthcoming World Cup fixture.

Critics say a saffron-coloured reserve kit represents the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of PM Narendra Modi.

The Indian cricket team have to ditch their usual blue for their clash against England on 30 June.

Under new International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, opposing sides must provide two kits for televised events.

An ICC source told Indian outlet ANI they had provided colour options to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, who chose an option that looked best for them.

But politicians from India's Congress Party and the Samajwadi Party (SP) have objected to the rumoured kit change.

"Modi wants to saffronise the entire country," Abu Asim Azmi, from the SP said - referencing a term used to describe a Hindu nationalist drive to dominate the country's heritage and culture.

"A Muslim was the one who designed the Indian tricolour. There are other colours in the tricolour, why choose only orange?"

Photographs and mock-ups of the rumoured kit, with different amounts of orange on them, have been circulating on social media.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Hindu nationalist party of Modi (left) is represented by saffron orange

India's bowling coach, Bharat Arun, has urged fans to focus on the fixtures themselves instead of the jersey.

''We are focusing on the game and not aware of the colour we are getting," he said when probed on the row. "We bleed blue, right. Blue is going to be predominantly the colour and that's it."

This is not the first time recently that India's kits have sparked controversy.

Earlier this month cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni was asked by the ICC to remove a military insignia from his wicket-keeping gloves.

The logo, which depicts a commando dagger, is known as the Balidaan (sacrifice) badge in India. The ICC said the gloves, which he wore for India's opening World Cup match, flouted regulations.

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