Indian cricketers wear military caps to honour slain soldiers

Indian cricketers wear camouflage army caps ahead of the third one-day international (ODI) cricket match between India and Australia at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association International Cricket Stadium in Ranchi. (AFP pic)

RANCHI: The Indian cricket team wore military camouflage caps in their one-day game against Australia on Friday to pay tribute to 40 paramilitary troops killed in a suicide bomb attack in disputed Kashmir.

Virat Kohli’s team will also donate their US$8,500 match fees from the game – being played in the eastern city of Ranchi – to a fund for the families of those killed in last month’s attack.

Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni handed out the caps – which bore the logo of the Board of Control for Cricket in India – to his teammates in a simple ceremony before the game.

“This is a special cap, it’s a tribute to the armed forces,” said Kohli, who urged others to support the families.

Tit-for-tat air strikes and an aerial dogfight followed the Feb 14 suicide attack, igniting fears of all-out conflict, but the crisis appeared to ease when Pakistan returned an Indian pilot who was shot down and captured.

There has been a national outpouring of support for the military in India and calls for further action against Pakistan.

Some in India’s cricket establishment say the country should boycott its World Cup game against Pakistan in England in June.