New Delhi [India], July 1 (ANI): Amid the controversy over Indian team's orange colour jersey in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, ace-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Monday cautioned against mixing politics and sports.
The Indian bowler, in a video posted on his YouTube channel, questioned how a team can lose a match because of the colour of their jersey.
As soon as India sported orange colour on its cricket jersey against England in the ongoing ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, many politicians started criticising the team's decision and said the side had deliberately opted for saffronisation of the jersey.
However, Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh lashed out at the critics of the jersey and urged people not to mix sports with politics.
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Sporting a deep blue and orange jersey, the Virat Kohli-led side lost to England by 31 runs on Sunday, the first defeat for the team in the tournament. Many were quick to blame the change in colour for the result.
Harbhajan was fully in support of the Indian team and stated that people should only support the team without getting into "political agendas".
"The team has sported orange colour often. I have played with an orange colour on my jersey. When we won the 2007 T20 World Cup, we were called Men in Sky Blue colour. Whenever the team plays, just support the side. Don't get behind political agendas. It's better we keep sports far from politics, he said.
"Don't tell us what colour we should sport on our jersey, players play for India, just support them," the spin bowler added.
Harbhajan lashed out at those criticising the team and asked, "How is it possible for a team to lose just because of the jersey colour?"
The cricketer even highlighted that ICC rules requires a team to change their jersey colour when they play against the host nation.
"I just cannot understand how people can say that the team lost just because they sported orange jersey. Team India abided by ICC rules, as the rules require the team to change their jersey colour when you play against the host nation," Harbhajan said.
On Sunday, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti had said India's new jersey was the reason behind the team's 31-run defeat to hosts England.
"Call me superstitious but I'd say it's the jersey that ended India's winning streak in the #ICCWorldCup2019" Mufti had tweeted.
In the match between India and England, the latter won the toss and opted to bat first. England went on to post a challenging score of 337 runs for the loss of seven wickets in the allotted fifty overs.
Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow gave England solid base at the top as they stitched together a partnership of 160 runs. Roy was dismissed for 66 whereas Bairstow went on to score a century.
Bairstow was sent back to the pavilion after playing a knock of 111 runs, but Ben Stokes played a 79-run innings to propel England to more than 330 runs.
Chasing 338, India's opening batsman Rohit Sharma registered his third century in the ongoing tournament. Indian skipper Virat Kohli also registered a half-century, becoming the first skipper to register five consecutive fifties in the World Cup.
But India fell short by 31 runs in the end. This win has enabled England to reach the fourth spot in the tournament standings.
India will next face Bangladesh on July 2. (ANI)