Independence Day: When Indian cricketers insulted Tricolour

Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav: It has been 75 years since India got independence. The ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’is being celebrated. The Tricolour is being hoisted in homes across the country under the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign.

After independence, the country achieved success in every field including cricket. Many historical moments like World Cup wins in 1983, 2007 and 2011 have made Indians proud.

Indian cricketers consider it an honour to play with the Tricolour on their chest. But there was a time when two Indian players refused to salute our national flag during a Test series.

This incident is from 1947-48. India had undertaken its first foreign tour after independence. Although the Indian team was playing Test cricket since 1932, this was the first cricket tour by the Indian cricket team after independence.

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Lala Amarnath was made the captain for this Australia tour. The three-Test series was the real test of Indian players, this was the first time that the Indian team played on Australian wickets. Fighting against a team led by the great batsman Don Bradman was not easy at all. India managed to win a one-match draw. Australia won the series 2–0.

Gul Mohammad

The tour garnered as much attention for Don Bradman’s batting as for the misbehaviour of two Indian players. The third and last Test match of the tour was to be held in Melbourne, but two days before that Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in India.

There was panic among the Indian players because the atmosphere of the country was equally bad. The country was battling Hindu-Muslim riots. The atmosphere was further heated by the murder of Gandhi.

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There was speculation of canceling the tour, but in the end, it was decided that the Indian players would play the match with a black band on their arms and would pay tribute to Gandhi by saluting the tricolor.

But two players of the Indian team flatly refused to do so. These were Amir Elahi from Baroda and Gul Mohammad from Hyderabad. Both the players born in Lahore were influenced by Jinnah and wanted to return to India and take citizenship of Pakistan and settle there.

But then the Indian captain, Lala Amarnath, had told both of them that he will not tolerate the insult of the Tricolor. He said that after returning home, Gul and Elahi may play for the country, but at the moment both are representing India.

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What happened after going to Pakistan?

Mohammad Gul, who started his career in the Ranji Trophy for North India at the age of 17, got entry in the Indian team in 1946. Later, after going to Pakistan, he played cricket from there. After retiring from cricket, he also tried his hand in umpiring and coaching. Amir Elahi, who played international matches for both India and Pakistan, played only 6 Tests in his Test career. The last match of his career came against India on December 12, 1952.


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