Ahmed, who represented the Aussies in Twenty20s against England, was excused from wearing the sponsor’s insignia on the front of his uniform due to his religious beliefs forbidding alcohol.
But while Cricket Australia and VB respect the leg-spinner’s wishes, the former batsman as legendary for his willow wielding as he was his drinking feats (44 cans from Sydney to London!) is less than sensitive.
“I think if he doesn’t want to wear the team gear, he should not be part of the team,” Walters said. “Maybe if he doesn’t want to be paid that’s OK.”
He argues that players command such large wages these days due to the big sponsorship dollars – such as the $10m-plus pumped into the current series by VB’s parent company Carlton & United.
Former Pakistan coach and Australian fast bowler Geoff Lawson was more measured.
“If you don’t agree with the terms (of your employment contract) you have a choice as to whether you work somewhere else,” he said.
“Players should be able to object on a number of moral grounds – example: against cigarette advertising or perhaps you refuse to play in a country with a military dictatorship or poor human rights record – as long as they don’t accept the payments the sponsor provides.”
Ahmed fled Pakistan in 2009 and special political intervention meant his Australian citizenship was fast-tracked.
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