The host nation beat New Zealand in a dramatic World Cup final at the Lord’s cricket ground in London. Players Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, however, caught the world’s attention for rushing away moments before champagne was opened.
Anyone watching the aftermath of England’s Cricket World Cup triumph on Sunday may have noticed the team’s Muslim players hurriedly walk away as the team popped open bottles of champagne in celebration.
Devout Muslims like Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali do not drink alcohol and for Muslims and other fans familiar with Islam watching the incident was pretty easy to understand.
But upholding their religious principles on such a prominent stage with hundreds of millions watching across the globe, added a special significance for many.
“Respect to Moeen Ali & Adil Rashid….Thats how u respect ur Religion,” wrote an Indian fan named Rushiraj on Twitter.
Another user named Hamdaan Sufi Patel, addressing the players, wrote: “Huge respect in the way you both conducted yourselves throughout the celebrations. At the highest point in your careers, you stuck to your morals. Congratulations on winning the World Cup.”
England beat New Zealand in the most dramatic fashion after matching the Kiwis’ total of 241 runs, leading to the two teams contesting a super over in which both got 15 runs each. The tie was then decided in England’s favour because they had more boundaries.
Both Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid have worn their religion with pride during their cricketing careers and have made no attempt at hiding it.
Speaking to GeoTV in 2016, Ali said: “Yes, we have to behave how Muslims should be and perform on the pitch, it’s a big responsibility.”
Their conduct has had an impact not just on cricket fans but also their teammates.
When Irish-born England captain Eoin Morgan was asked by a reporter whether the ‘luck of the Irish’ had helped the team win the World Cup, he responded: “We had Allah with us. I spoke to Aadil he said Allah is definitely with us.”
The world champions have been praised for the diverse makeup of their squad. Captain Eoin Morgan is Irish born, batsman Ben Stokes is originally from New Zealand, bowler Jofra Archer is of Barbadian heritage, Jason Roy hails from South Africa, while both Rashid and Ali are of Pakistani descent.