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Usman Khawaja Defies ICC Ban With Discreet Gaza Support, Sparking Controversy
By CricShots - Dec 14, 2023 1:27 pm
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Australian opener Usman Khawaja displayed a defiant act of support for the people of Gaza on the first day of the Australia-Pakistan Test in Perth. Wearing a black armband and shoes covered in semi-transparent tape, he subtly conveyed his message despite restrictions from the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja wearing black armband

Originally, Khawaja intended to wear shoes emblazoned with the bold statements “Freedom is a human right” and “All lives are equal,” written in the colors of the Palestinian flag. However, ICC regulations prohibiting political, religious, or racial messages on playing equipment forced him to modify his plan.

While Cricket Australia urged players to comply with the rules, Khawaja, frustrated by the perceived double standards in their enforcement, devised a clever workaround. He covered the original messages with tape, leaving them visible only upon closer inspection. Additionally, the tape itself mirrored the colors of the Palestinian flag, further amplifying his message.

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Khawaja’s act stemmed from the ongoing conflict in Gaza, which has claimed over 1,200 lives since October 7th. He previously drew attention to the situation through a UNICEF video shared on Instagram, questioning the lack of concern for innocent lives lost.

 

The talented batsman expressed disappointment with the ICC’s inconsistent application of its regulations. He pointed to instances where players openly supported other political movements without facing repercussions. By subtly defying the ban, Khawaja aimed to highlight this inconsistency while still adhering to the rules of the game.

“There have been so many precedents set in the past,” Usman Khawaja stated. “Full support for Black Lives Matter, players writing on their shoes before, even religious symbols on equipment… I find it disappointing that the ICC came down hard on me but not everyone else. That’s the most frustrating part.”

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Khawaja’s actions have sparked a debate, raising questions about the ICC’s regulations and the role of athletes in advocating for social causes. His courage in defying the ban, albeit subtly, has undoubtedly brought attention to the ongoing conflict and ignited a conversation about the responsibility of athletes to speak out against injustice.