England v India, 2nd Investec Test, Ageas Bowl, 2nd day July 28, 2014

ECB defends Moeen's 'Save Gaza' wristband

The ECB has defended Moeen Ali for wearing wristbands with the slogans "Save Gaza" and "Free Palestine" during the third Investec Test between England and India at The Ageas Bowl.

Moeen, a devout Muslim who welcomes the position of role-model and says he wears a long beard as he "wants people to know I am a Muslim", first wore the wrist bands when batting in England's first innings. He had not informed the ECB that he was going to wear them and continued to wear them in the field on the second evening.

He has not been asked to remove them, but he could face sanctions from the ICC if they decide he has contravened their clothing and equipment regulations.

According to section F of the relevant ICC code: "Players and team officials shall not be permitted to wear, display or otherwise convey messages through arm bands or other items affixed to clothing or equipment unless approved in advance by the player or team official's Board. Approval shall not be granted for messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes."

An ICC spokesman confirmed they were investigating the matter. Moeen, playing just his fifth Test, faces a maximum penalty of a fine of up to 50 per cent of his match fee if he is deemed to have committed a Level One offence.

But an ECB spokesman insisted Moeen's stance was "humanitarian not political" and stated that "the ECB do not believe he has committed any offence." It was also pointed out that, on the third day of the current Test, the entire England team, Moeen included, will wear shirts sporting the Help for Heroes logo. Help for Heroes describes itself as "a UK military charity… formed to help those wounded in Britain's current conflicts."

There will also be a minute's silence observed by both teams to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War at 10.56am.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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