Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has criticised "bigoted'' comments about Pakistan-born leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed not having to wear a beer sponsor's logo on his playing shirt on religious grounds.
Former rugby international David Campese said Ahmed should `'go home'' if he did not want to wear a beer sponsor's logo on his playing shirt because of his Muslim faith.
Campese has tweeted in agreement with comments by former test cricketer Doug Walters, who was quoted as saying: "I think if he doesn't want to wear the team gear, he should not be part of the team.''
Campese tweeted: "Doug Walters tells Pakistan-born Fawad Ahmed: if you don't like the ... uniform, don't play for Australia Well said doug.
"Tell him to go home.''
Sutherland said on Friday he was dismayed by "opportunism on some people's parts to reflect bigoted views'' on Ahmed's Australian citizenship.
Ahmed, who fled Pakistan in 2009 to seek asylum in Australia and gained citizenship in July, was picked for Australia's five-match limited-overs series in England after he made his debut in the Twenty20 series last week.
I commend them for taking an approach that allowed the player to not contravene his personal beliefs.
He was quoted by Fairfax Media from England on Tuesday as having "expressed discomfort'' about wearing the logo because, on religious grounds, he does not associate with alcohol.
Cricket Australia's operations manager Mike McKenna said CA was "respectful of Fawad's personal beliefs'' and agreed to his request to wear an unbranded shirt.
Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Paul Marsh said told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper that the sport's authorities would have weighed the decision carefully.
''They would have thought about the precedent it could set," Marsh said. "But I commend them...for taking an approach that allowed the player to not contravene his personal beliefs.''
Marsh told the newspaper that, ''if a player has reasonable personal or professional objection…they would allow the player to be exempt. That's what has been extended to Fawad. They came to a very reasonable agreement.''
Cricket fans took to Twitter to discuss the agreement, with some sharing photographs of Ahmed with the positions on his shirt where the beer logos would usually be circled to highlight their absence.
Newcastle United footballer, Papiss Cissé, argued with the club recently when he said their sponsor, a widely-criticised company offering high-cost loans, offended his Muslim beliefs and that he could not wear their logo. That dispute has since been resolved.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies