In the run-up to the first Test between India and New Zealand in Kanpur, a controversy over dietary recommendations for the Indian team broke out as the non-vegetarian cricketers were allegedly allowed to eat meat only of the halal variety. It soon stirred Hindus on social media, who condemned the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), whose treasurer Arun Dhumal has now broken his silence on the matter.
As per the directive reported by Aaj Tak‘s sports website, the players were directed to not eat beef and pork in any manner while other categories of meat were allowed only in the halal form. Questions were raised as to how such recommendations can be made over food choices.
Dhumal said that the BCCI had no role to play in the matter as food choices always remain as per the individual’s preference. “This (diet plan) has never been discussed and will not be enforced. I don’t know when this decision was taken or if it was. As far as I know, we never issued any guidelines related to diet plans. As far as food habits are concerned, it is the individual choice of players, BCCI has no role in it,” Dhumal said.
“This ‘halal‘ thing may have happened on any player’s feedback at some point in time. For example, if a player says he doesn’t eat beef and if a foreign team comes then the food should not be mixed. This halal issue has never been brought to BCCI’s attention,” he said.
Further delving into the topic, Dhumal said that the BCCI never recommends its players about what their food preferences should be. What kind of food they want to eat, in fact, always remains the individual’s choice, be it non-vegetarian or vegetarian.
“The BCCI doesn’t advise any of its players what to eat and what not to eat. Players are free to choose their own food. Whether they want to be vegetarian, it’s their choice, whether they want to be vegan, it’s their choice, whether they want to be non-vegetarian, it’s their choice.”