A row involving the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) erupted on Tuesday, November 23, after a document said that only 'halal' meat has been recommended for the Indian cricketers during their stay in Kanpur for the series-opening Test against New Zealand. The catering and menu document, in possession of PTI, also mentions categorically that no pork or beef should be part of any food in any form or variety.
BJP spokesperson and advocate Gaurav Goel demanded immediate withdrawal of the recommendation. "The players can eat whatever they want but who has given the BCCI the right to introduce 'halal' meat. This is illegal and we will not allow it," Goel said in a video posted from his Twitter handle. "This decision is not right. It should be withdrawn immediately," he added.
None of the BCCI officials, contacted by the PTI, were ready to speak about the document, which is believed to be prepared by the support staff and medical team keeping the dietary requirements of the players in mind. Usually Hindus and Sikhs prefer 'jhatka' meat while Muslims largely prefer 'halal'.
In the halal form of slaughter, animals are killed with a cut to the jugular vein and are left till the blood drains out completely. In the jhatka method, the animal is killed instantaneously.
A former India cricketer said exclusion of beef and pork items is not surprising though it was never documented before. "During my time in the team, I have never seen any beef or pork items being served on match days in the dressing room. At least, never in India. So I don't think apart from putting pen to paper, anything new has been done," the cricketer told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
"Before anyone tries to read between the lines, beef, with its excessive fat content just like goat meat, isn't advisable for cricketers. We were always advised to have lean protein which is generally grilled chicken and fish," he said.
In the menu, there are two kinds of meat items listed â€” chicken and lamb. The non-vegetarian items listed include roasted chicken, roasted lamb, lamb chops in black pepper sauce, murgh yakhni, chicken thai curry, marinated grilled chicken, Goan fish curry, tangri kebabs and stir fried vegetables with chicken in garlic sauce.
The series-opener is slated to begin in Kanpur from Thursday, November 25, while the second Test will be played in Mumbai from December 3.