Debate is raging across the cricket world over the victorious England team's T20 World Cup celebrations, which alienated two of the squad's Muslim players.
England cemented their status as the kings of white-ball cricket after beating Pakistan in Sunday night's T20 World Cup final at the MCG.
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The win completed a stunning achievement for England, who became the first men's cricket national in history to hold both the T20 and ODI World Cups at the same time.
Not surprisingly, the celebrations were in full swing in Melbourne on Sunday night, with the England team posing for photos with the trophy before the champagne inevitably came out.
However, England allrounder Moeen Ali and leg-spinner Adil Rashid - both Muslim players - were forced to leave their teammates when the champagne cork was popped because of their religious beliefs.
Many members of the Islamic community are prohibited from consuming alcohol or even coming into contact with it, explaining why the two players promptly left before the bubbly was sprayed around.
England captain Jos Buttler could even be seen making sure the two players were safely away from the rest of the team, before giving the word to crack the champagne, in a gesture that was praised across the cricket world.
Heart touching! ❤️
England's captain reminded Adil Rashid to leave and checked to see that he and Moeen Ali had left before they celebrated with champagne. Respect.
— Shahjhan Malik (She/Her) (@shahjhan_malikk) November 13, 2022
This team ❤️
Checking Mo and Rashid are out the way before using champagne. pic.twitter.com/FxHF6OJX1w
— England's Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) November 14, 2022
Huge respect for Adil Rashid & Moeen Ali , Muslim players of Kashmiri origin in @englandcricket …. As the English players start to spray the champagne 🍾 around they leave so their team mates can celebrate freely…..#MoeenAli #AdilRashid #T20WorldCup #T20WorldCupFinal pic.twitter.com/oxYfFaGu89
— Imran Munawar (@Imran_Munawar99) November 13, 2022
However, many others questioned why the wider England team felt it necessary to celebrate in a way that wasn't inclusive for every member of the squad.
“Why would you want to exclude any of your players from any part of what should be one of the proudest moment of their careers?” cricket journalist Yas Rana wrote in Wisden.
“Why would you want them removed from the images that will be used to celebrate this achievement for years to come?
“Why is showering the team in alcohol a necessary, immovable part of the celebrations?
“When you have just won a World Cup, why would you want, even for a second, to exclude anyone from the celebrations?”
This isn't something that should be celebrated. Champagne excludes Rashid and Moeen, one of who has been very very vital for the team winning the cup. It is, therefore, very very bad of Buttler to not have included them
— Anant (@AnantHellohaan) November 14, 2022
Umm, did Rashid or Moeen object? Until then I see no problem. And if they or any other Muslim player in a majority non-Muslim team has an issue, we should talk of alternatives.
Why fix something that isn't broken? Let the boys and girls celebrate however they want.
— Aviral Jain (@JainAAviral) November 14, 2022
I don’t like this. Been lots of chat lately about how CALD cricketers are represented in the Anglosphere, and this shows there’s still a way to go. You can’t include your mates unless there’s booze? Carn. https://t.co/alfNO6GPun
— Daany Saeed (@daanysaeed) November 14, 2022
Moeen Ali admits to nerves in T20 World Cup final
Moeen admitted after the match that he was the “most nervous” he has ever been in his career, amid the desperation to help England clinch the T20 World Cup title.
The allrounder was already a 50-over World Cup winner but, whereas he was out of the England XI come the crunch time of the 2019 campaign, three years on in Australia he has been an ever-present.
An innings of 19 off 12 balls in the showpiece was much more important than it first appears as his three fours in the 17th over bowled by Mohammad Wasim swung the momentum towards England at the MCG.
While Wasim had his revenge in his next over by castling Moeen, the damage was done and Ben Stokes, who made 52 not out off 49 balls, got England over the line with five wickets and six deliveries to spare.
Aged 35, Moeen recognises he may not have too many opportunities left to win World Cups and was happy to banish the memory of the 2016 final in which the West Indies pipped England in the last over.
“Being at the back end of my career, I felt like this was the most nervous I’ve ever been for a game,” Moeen said.
“It felt like the biggest game I’ve ever played in because obviously I was so desperate to win it. I feel like as a team we deserved it. I’m absolutely buzzing.
“To win the World Cup after 2016, missing out in the final, then the semi-final (last year) where we probably felt we should have won, and then coming out here, it was an amazing performance.”
As deputy to captain Jos Buttler, Moeen is a central figure in England’s leadership group and has felt an increased sense of responsibility to encourage those around him, particularly the younger players.
But he believes his most telling intervention came in a chat with Rashid, who had a tournament of two halves, leaking 89 runs from 12 overs in his first three matches before hitting his stride.
Against Sri Lanka in the final must-win group game, India in the semi-final and Pakistan in the marquee match, Rashid claimed outstanding figures of 12-1-58-4 to give England a foothold in all three matches.
“I’ve been a lot more involved, I guess, with Jos and being vice-captain,” Moeen said. “Rash, for example, he wasn’t struggling, but I feel like there was a lot missing and all of a sudden it worked.
“We spoke and I said how good he was. I’ve still been saying he’s the best leg-spinner in the world. When he’s bowling like that there’s no one that compares to him.”
Several of England’s squad, including Buttler and Moeen, have little time to revel in their triumph as they start a three-match ODI series against Australia at Adelaide on Thursday.
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