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Khawaja criticizes ICC’s duplicity

In the first match of the Test series against Pakistan, Australian opener Usman Khawaja had expressed his support for Palestinians by wanting to wear shoes with slogans. However, ICC rules prohibit players from using clothing or equipment with any message without permission. Khawaja had then declared a fight against the ICC’s decision in a video message. Today, before the start of the Perth Test, Khawaja wore shoes with slogans, covered with tape. He had previously participated in Australia’s observance, writing “Independence is a human right” and “The value of every life is equal” on his shoes. During the Test, he had intended to step onto the field wearing these slogan-laden shoes, but that was prevented by the ICC’s regulations. Khawaja had stated in a video message yesterday, “ICC has told me I cannot wear my shoes according to their rules. Because there is a political statement here. I don’t believe in that, it’s a humanitarian plea. I respect their opinions and decisions, but I’ll fight against it.”

Before the start of play on the first day of the Perth Test, Khawaja spoke about this with Fox Sports. He accused the ICC of double standards. His claim was that while other players have made political statements, they haven’t faced prohibitions. He supported the Black Lives Matter movement fully, stating, “Many have written messages on shoes before. Even if others had religious matters in their messages and weren’t permitted according to ICC’s rules, still, ICC didn’t say anything about it. I’m disappointed because they are strict with me, but not with everyone. That’s possibly the most disappointing part.”

Khawaja faced both support and criticism due to the message on his shoes. Expressing his reaction, he said, “I’m a bit disappointed, but I’ll fight for what I believe in.” He further expressed, “I don’t see any contradiction between ‘the value of every life is equal’ or ‘independence is a human right.’ I don’t know why that’s considered political. It’s hard for me to accept that people don’t like these ideas. I don’t think everyone will agree with everything. But people’s discomfort with these issues has made me uncomfortable too.”

Khawaja concluded by affirming that he would continue on the path he believes in, stating, “Even if people don’t agree with me or don’t like what I say, I’ll stick to what I believe in. I want to say that I’ve fought not only on the field but also off the field for my principles.” Up until this report was written, in the Perth Test, Australia won the toss and batted first, scoring 90 runs without losing any wickets. Khawaja was batting on 29 runs. On the other end, David Warner remained unbeaten on 58 runs.

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