New Delhi: The Congress and the Samajwadi Party leaders suspect a saffron push in the decision behind the orange colour jersey that the Indian cricket team is likely to don in its World Cup match against England. The reaction has been ridiculed by the BJP which dubbed their reaction as "myopic and reactionary". The Indian squad may sport orange jerseys in match against England on Sunday as the team’s blue colour clashes with the host's outfit. The International Cricket Council had asked all teams, except England, to carry two sets of uniforms. Samajwadi Party MLA from Maharashtra Abu Azmi even accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to paint the entire country in saffron colour. The shades of saffron were visible in other fields such as culture and education.
However, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma dismissed the controversy as needless. "It is not a political issue. If the team and the BCCI do not have a problem, then it does not matter what colour the Indian team wears. What matters is that they should play well and win the world cup," he told reporters. BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli attacked those criticising the choice of orange as the jersey colour. "It is myopic and reactionary politics without application of mind. Those who criticise saffron forget that it is a part of the national flag. If the jersey is saffron in colour, it ought to enhance our sense of pride and rekindle nationalism," Kohli said.
An ICC source put the jersey controversy in perspective. "The design (orange) is a lift from India's old T20 jersey which had an orange streak. The US-based designers took a cue from something that already existed. It is not something completely new that fans don't identify with," the source explained. Before the start of the World Cup, ICC introduced a new rule asking the teams to sport home and away jerseys in the tournament. The ICC rule reads: "For televised ICC events all participating teams will be required to provide for two different coloured kits, except for the host country which has preference in the choice of colour and may, if it chooses to do so, provide only one coloured kit to be worn in all matches throughout the event. In advance of the event, the teams will be notified which coloured kit will be worn in each match." South Africa, which generally sports green jersey with yellow shade, wore the reverse, which was dominated by yellow with patches of green in the team's match against Bangladesh. Afghanistan who generally sports blue jersey, wore a jersey with more shaded of red added to their blue jersey. Australia (yellow), New Zealand (black) and West Indies (maroon) already have unique jerseys and are hence exempted from having 'away' kits.