Usman Khawaja Opens Up On Motivational Struggles Amidst Support For Palestine
By CricShots - Jan 2, 2024 5:03 pm
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Australian opener Usman Khawaja has openly discussed the impact of his support for Palestine during the Sheffield Shield cricket season, revealing a notable lack of motivation leading up to the Test summer. Khawaja expressed his solidarity for Palestine amidst the Gaza conflict, a stance that resulted in reprimands from the International Cricket Council (ICC) during his representation for Australia against Pakistan.

usman khawaja
Usman Khawaja

The aftermath of these incidents has taken a toll on his mental state, prompting the cricketer to seek counseling. Usman Khawaja acknowledged that his support for Palestine, including wearing a black armband without permission, faced setbacks, especially with the ICC’s response affecting him significantly.

The challenges he encountered in raising awareness for a cause close to his heart led him to recognize the importance of psychological support in coping with the associated stress.

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“I don’t do these things on a whim – this is something that has affected me for a long time. I was playing Sheffield Shield cricket before the Test series and I was really lacking motivation. I talked to my wife Rachel, I talked to our sports psychologist Brent Membrey and Cricket Australia and told them I really am struggling for motivation right now,” explained Usman Khawaja in an interview with Fox Cricket.


The 37-year-old faced additional hurdles when barred by the ICC from wearing ‘non-compliant’ shoes before the Pakistan Test. Despite the cricket regulations, Usman Khawaja chose to contest the rules, emphasizing that cricket felt like a lesser priority amid the global conflicts. He aimed to seek psychological support without distancing himself from the team, highlighting the significance of mental well-being in the face of off-field causes.

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“When I see all these people, particularly innocent kids, dying and I see videos of that happening it really has an effect on me. Going out and playing cricket just seemed so insignificant, and I’m really struggling with it. It had a big impact on me. I thought long and hard about what I could do and how I could do it without segregating and pushing people aside,” shared Usman Khawaja, shedding light on the ongoing internal struggle with the realization of cricket’s perceived insignificance during times of war.