Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja made it clear that he won’t wear a black armband in the upcoming Test match against Pakistan at the MCG. He intends to challenge the charge put forth by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Khawaja faced a reprimand from the ICC for wearing a black armband during the first Test against Pakistan in Perth, which Australia won convincingly by 360 runs. It’s essential to note that the ICC’s reprimand doesn’t come with any financial or playing consequences.
Addressing reporters, Khawaja explained, “The ICC asked me during day two of the Perth Test about the black armband. I told them it was for a personal bereavement, not anything else. I respect the ICC and its rules, but I’ll contest this decision.”
He had initially planned to sport cricketing shoes with messages supporting human rights and equality. These messages aimed to show solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. However, Cricket Australia and the ICC cautioned against what they considered a political statement. Consequently, Khawaja opted not to display those messages but wore a black armband instead.
“I followed regulations and past precedents. Players have done similar things in the past without repercussions,” Khawaja pointed out.
ICC rules prohibit players from displaying messages backing political, religious, or racial causes during international matches. However, they allow black armbands for commemorating former players or notable individuals upon prior ICC approval.
Khawaja emphasized, “I have no hidden agendas. I want to highlight humanitarian issues respectfully.”
He explained the sentiments behind the messages planned for his shoes, stating, “I avoided religious references to maintain a broad, inclusive approach. Humanitarian issues deeply affect me, especially seeing innocent lives lost.”
Khawaja acknowledged potential negativity but felt responsible for speaking up on such matters. “This isn’t about personal gain; it’s about speaking for those suffering,” he concluded.