[PICTURES] Usman Khawaja charged by the ICC for black armband protest

Do you approve of Usman Khawaja's protest for Gaza?


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Usman Khawaja has copped a reprimand from cricket’s governing body over his armband protest during the First Test.

The opening batsman wore a black armband during Australia’s 360-run victory in Perth after the ICC on the eve of the Test moved to ban his premeditated shoe protest.

Khawaja last week lashed the ICC for censoring him and doubled down on his promise to continue to promote messages of support for civilians in Gaza.

The 36-year-old had handwritten slogans “Freedom is a human right” and “All lives are equal” on his footwear.

He was warned by the ICC that he faced sanctions if he wore those shoes during the match — given the governing body has rules in place that prohibit the display of personal messages that relate to politics, religion or race.

While the message on his shoes was covered over with tape, Khawaja strolled out to the crease on the opening day of the Test with a black armband around his left arm.

It was noted by reporters last week that there has been a previous case of players being found to have been in breach of ICC rules as a result of wearing black armbands that were not approved by the governing body.

This has now occurred for Khawaja who has been given a reprimand for his first breach of the rule.

All players must first get permission from their home cricket board and the ICC before wearing armbands — or risk being found in breach of ICC rules.

“Usman Khawaja has been charged for breaching Clause F of the Clothing and Equipment Regulations, which can be found on the ICC Playing Conditions page. The sanctions for a breach of the regulations are outlined in Appendix 2,” an ICC spokesperson said.

“Usman displayed a personal message (arm band) during the 1st Test Match against Pakistan without seeking the prior approval of Cricket Australia and the ICC to display it, as required in the regulations for personal messages. This is a breach under the category of an “other breach” and the sanction for a first offence is a reprimand.”

It sets the scene for fireworks to erupt should Khawaja continue to wear a black armband during the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

Khawaja said it was unfair the governing body stepped in to stop him from delivering his message.

He pointed out inconsistencies in the ICC’s rulings where some players have previously been approved to show personal messages that surrounded topics of politics, religion or race.

The ICC’s clothing and equipment regulations state that: “In determining whether a message is for a ‘political, religious or racial cause’, the starting point is that the ICC and its members acknowledge and agree that cricket should be used as a tool to bring people and communities around the world together and not as a platform to draw attention to potentially divisive political issues, rhetoric or agendas.

“Each case must be considered on its own facts and the ICC will take into account all relevant circumstances, including (as it sees fit): (a) the views of any other relevant team or individual; (b) the likely sentiment and response in the media to the message in all relevant countries; (c) whether the message is a ‘one-off’ or whether it is to be displayed for a longer period; (d) the purpose and impact of conveying the message,” the regulations continue.

“By way of example only, and without limitation, where the purpose of a message appears to be commemorative in nature (e.g. the use of a black armband or a poppy) or to serve a charitable purpose (e.g. to generate funds or awareness for a non-political charitable cause), it is more likely to be permitted; where a message appears to indicate support for a particular government, political party or individual, it is more likely to be prohibited. Where a request for approval is submitted to the ICC, the ICC shall be entitled to request such further information as it considers necessary before making its decision and to impose such conditions as it sees fit in providing its approval (as applicable).”

News Corp cricket writer Peter Lalor forecast last week that Khawaja could still be penalised by the ICC, but that was unlikely.

“The custom with a black armband is if you have a personal bereavement,” Lalor said on Channel 7.

“Usman Khawaja hasn’t had a personal bereavement. We’re waiting to see what the ICC say here. There is precedent on this topic.

“In 2003, Henry Olonga and Andy Flower both wore black armbands during the World Cup. It was a protest about what was happening in Zimbabwe with the government. They were ruled to be in breach of the regulations by wearing those armbands, but Malcolm Speed was in charge then.

“He was a sensible fellow and said, ‘You’re in breach but we’re not going to do anything about it’.

“I would hope that that’s the situation here. It would seem to be overreach to me to discipline him for wearing that armband.

Khawaja last week delivered an impassioned plea on his social media channels after the messaging on his shoes caused a stir among fans.

“I’ve noticed what I’ve written on my shoes has caused a little bit of a stir,” Khawaja began.

“I won’t say much, I don’t need to. But what I do want is for everyone who did get offended is to ask yourself these questions: ‘Is freedom not for everyone? Are all lives not equal?

“To me personally it doesn’t matter what race, religion or culture you are.

“Let’s be honest about it. If me saying ‘all lives are equal’ has resulted in people being offended to the point where they are calling me up and telling me off, well isn’t that the bigger problem?

“These people obviously don’t believe in what I’ve written. And it’s not just a handful of people. You’d be shocked about how many feel this way.

“What I’ve written on my shoes isn’t political. I’m not taking sides. Human life to me is equal. One Jewish life is equal to one Muslim life is equal to one Hindu life, and so on.

“I’m just speaking up for those who don’t have a voice. This is close to my heart. When I see thousands of innocent children dying without any repercussions or remorse, I imagine my two girls. What if

this was them?

“No one chooses where they’re born. And then I see the world turn their backs on them. My heart can’t take it. I already feel my life wasn’t equal to others when I was growing up. But luckily for me, I never lived in a world where that lack of inequality was life or death.

“The ICC have told me that I can’t wear my shoes on the field because they believe it’s a political statement under their guidelines. I don’t believe it is so. It’s a humanitarian appeal. I will respect their view, and their decision but I will fight it and seek to gain approval. Freedom is a human right, and all lives are equal. I will never stop believing that, whether you agree with me or not.”

Source: Fox Sports


==================================

A brief history of the situation: Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja plans to challenge the International Cricket Council's decision to bar him from wearing shoes with a message supporting Palestinians during a Test match. The ICC deemed the statements "political," but Khawaja insists it's a "humanitarian appeal." Cricket Australia supports players' right to express opinions but expects adherence to ICC rules. Khawaja, a Muslim, emphasizes the humanitarian aspect, while Minister Anika Wells backs his right to peaceful expression. However, former cricketers Hogg and O'Donnell argue against making political statements on the field. Khawaja faces potential sidelining if he wears the shoes without approval. During first Test at Perth against Pakistan Khawaja wore the black armband to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Palestine.

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What is your opinion on the ICC's decision regarding Usman Khawaja raising his voice for the cause of humanity?
 
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Poor from ICC. They charged him for raising voice for humanity
There are icc rules in place that cricketers have to follow. Simple as that. Khawaja should take it up with the aus gov and not icc
 
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1st statement - lol.😂. Khawaja is an average cricketer and of the day when his career is done
2nd statement - in general concur with that on icc
Khawaja is a renowned cricketer. Combine it with the character he's shown over the past week or so makes him a legend in my eyes.
Cowards can choose to stay quiet
 
1st statement - lol.😂. Khawaja is an average cricketer and of the day when his career is done
2nd statement - in general concur with that on icc
Even if he hid averages he's still miles ahead in terms of all the puppets.
 
Great courage from Khawaja to speak out unlike our so called pcb and players.
 
Khawaja is a renowned cricketer. Combine it with the character he's shown over the past week or so makes him a legend in my eyes.
Cowards can choose to stay quiet
Double standards. Never seen him do anything or raise any concerns for victims in his own birth country pak. Not even a peep on millions of Syrian victims. It's just become trendy to post all this and garner eyeballs and gain attraction - that's all he's doing
 
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Double standards. Never seen him do anything or raise any concerns for victims in his own birth country pak. Not even a peep on millions of Syrian victims. It's just become trendy to post all this and garner eyeballs and gain attraction - that's all he's doing
I'll judge him for speaking up for humanity. I don't know the condition of his heart. He did say this is for all innocent lives regardless of race or religion.
What do you want? He should raise voice against every injustice that has happened in history. That's not possible.
Palestine issue is all over Muslim world through social media and his heart cannot bear the images of all these atrocities. Like I said, it's much better than people who are busy with their lives and don't say anything. He's doing it risking sanctions from gutless people in ICC
 
Double standards. Never seen him do anything or raise any concerns for victims in his own birth country pak. Not even a peep on millions of Syrian victims. It's just become trendy to post all this and garner eyeballs and gain attraction - that's all he's doing

He can raise his voice on any issue he likes.

The Palestinian issue is one that resonates with him.
 
Stick to Usman Khawaja and his views/actions.
 
Double standards. Never seen him do anything or raise any concerns for victims in his own birth country pak. Not even a peep on millions of Syrian victims. It's just become trendy to post all this and garner eyeballs and gain attraction - that's all he's doing
This is such a poor argument and its only given by those people who justify their own lack of concern.

For every issue that exists in the world, you wont find one single person show concern for all the world problems. If there are 3 problems existing and 100 neutral people exist, 40 people will care about Problem A, 35 will care about Problem B and the rest 25 will show concern about Problem C.

Thing is, each and everyone is trying to show awareness about the issue.

What many Indians here dont understand and wont (because they dislike Muslims), is that people are dieing in a war that is not stopping because of a Veto in UN. Thus, celebrities have to create awareness of what is going on.

This is nothing to be trendy and its pathetic to see people like you think this is some cool trend that oh everyone is doing it so lets post it.

If you family was being killed and no one was helping you, would you not want someone to raise the voice so that some help or some mediator can come and save the rest of your family?

Think beyond your muslim hate. Think about human beings first. Be thankful that you dont have family members or some child of urs getting killed
 
There are icc rules in place that cricketers have to follow. Simple as that. Khawaja should take it up with the aus gov and not icc
Why such double standards? BLM was also associated with a political background. All lives are equal, and raising a voice for humanity should not be linked to any politics. He was very specific about his point, stating that he is raising his voice for the lives of people, not for any political group or party.
 
Usman Khawaja has copped a reprimand from cricket’s governing body over his armband protest during the First Test.

The opening batsman wore a black armband during Australia’s 360-run victory in Perth after the ICC on the eve of the Test moved to ban his premeditated shoe protest.

Khawaja last week lashed the ICC for censoring him and doubled down on his promise to continue to promote messages of support for civilians in Gaza.

The 36-year-old had handwritten slogans “Freedom is a human right” and “All lives are equal” on his footwear.

He was warned by the ICC that he faced sanctions if he wore those shoes during the match — given the governing body has rules in place that prohibit the display of personal messages that relate to politics, religion or race.

While the message on his shoes was covered over with tape, Khawaja strolled out to the crease on the opening day of the Test with a black armband around his left arm.

It was noted by reporters last week that there has been a previous case of players being found to have been in breach of ICC rules as a result of wearing black armbands that were not approved by the governing body.

This has now occurred for Khawaja who has been given a reprimand for his first breach of the rule.

All players must first get permission from their home cricket board and the ICC before wearing armbands — or risk being found in breach of ICC rules.

“Usman Khawaja has been charged for breaching Clause F of the Clothing and Equipment Regulations, which can be found on the ICC Playing Conditions page. The sanctions for a breach of the regulations are outlined in Appendix 2,” an ICC spokesperson said.

“Usman displayed a personal message (arm band) during the 1st Test Match against Pakistan without seeking the prior approval of Cricket Australia and the ICC to display it, as required in the regulations for personal messages. This is a breach under the category of an “other breach” and the sanction for a first offence is a reprimand.”

It sets the scene for fireworks to erupt should Khawaja continue to wear a black armband during the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

Khawaja said it was unfair the governing body stepped in to stop him from delivering his message.

He pointed out inconsistencies in the ICC’s rulings where some players have previously been approved to show personal messages that surrounded topics of politics, religion or race.

The ICC’s clothing and equipment regulations state that: “In determining whether a message is for a ‘political, religious or racial cause’, the starting point is that the ICC and its members acknowledge and agree that cricket should be used as a tool to bring people and communities around the world together and not as a platform to draw attention to potentially divisive political issues, rhetoric or agendas.

“Each case must be considered on its own facts and the ICC will take into account all relevant circumstances, including (as it sees fit): (a) the views of any other relevant team or individual; (b) the likely sentiment and response in the media to the message in all relevant countries; (c) whether the message is a ‘one-off’ or whether it is to be displayed for a longer period; (d) the purpose and impact of conveying the message,” the regulations continue.

“By way of example only, and without limitation, where the purpose of a message appears to be commemorative in nature (e.g. the use of a black armband or a poppy) or to serve a charitable purpose (e.g. to generate funds or awareness for a non-political charitable cause), it is more likely to be permitted; where a message appears to indicate support for a particular government, political party or individual, it is more likely to be prohibited. Where a request for approval is submitted to the ICC, the ICC shall be entitled to request such further information as it considers necessary before making its decision and to impose such conditions as it sees fit in providing its approval (as applicable).”

News Corp cricket writer Peter Lalor forecast last week that Khawaja could still be penalised by the ICC, but that was unlikely.

“The custom with a black armband is if you have a personal bereavement,” Lalor said on Channel 7.

“Usman Khawaja hasn’t had a personal bereavement. We’re waiting to see what the ICC say here. There is precedent on this topic.

“In 2003, Henry Olonga and Andy Flower both wore black armbands during the World Cup. It was a protest about what was happening in Zimbabwe with the government. They were ruled to be in breach of the regulations by wearing those armbands, but Malcolm Speed was in charge then.

“He was a sensible fellow and said, ‘You’re in breach but we’re not going to do anything about it’.

“I would hope that that’s the situation here. It would seem to be overreach to me to discipline him for wearing that armband.

Khawaja last week delivered an impassioned plea on his social media channels after the messaging on his shoes caused a stir among fans.

“I’ve noticed what I’ve written on my shoes has caused a little bit of a stir,” Khawaja began.

“I won’t say much, I don’t need to. But what I do want is for everyone who did get offended is to ask yourself these questions: ‘Is freedom not for everyone? Are all lives not equal?

“To me personally it doesn’t matter what race, religion or culture you are.

“Let’s be honest about it. If me saying ‘all lives are equal’ has resulted in people being offended to the point where they are calling me up and telling me off, well isn’t that the bigger problem?

“These people obviously don’t believe in what I’ve written. And it’s not just a handful of people. You’d be shocked about how many feel this way.

“What I’ve written on my shoes isn’t political. I’m not taking sides. Human life to me is equal. One Jewish life is equal to one Muslim life is equal to one Hindu life, and so on.

“I’m just speaking up for those who don’t have a voice. This is close to my heart. When I see thousands of innocent children dying without any repercussions or remorse, I imagine my two girls. What if

this was them?

“No one chooses where they’re born. And then I see the world turn their backs on them. My heart can’t take it. I already feel my life wasn’t equal to others when I was growing up. But luckily for me, I never lived in a world where that lack of inequality was life or death.

“The ICC have told me that I can’t wear my shoes on the field because they believe it’s a political statement under their guidelines. I don’t believe it is so. It’s a humanitarian appeal. I will respect their view, and their decision but I will fight it and seek to gain approval. Freedom is a human right, and all lives are equal. I will never stop believing that, whether you agree with me or not.”

Source: Fox Sports


==================================

A brief history of the situation: Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja plans to challenge the International Cricket Council's decision to bar him from wearing shoes with a message supporting Palestinians during a Test match. The ICC deemed the statements "political," but Khawaja insists it's a "humanitarian appeal." Cricket Australia supports players' right to express opinions but expects adherence to ICC rules. Khawaja, a Muslim, emphasizes the humanitarian aspect, while Minister Anika Wells backs his right to peaceful expression. However, former cricketers Hogg and O'Donnell argue against making political statements on the field. Khawaja faces potential sidelining if he wears the shoes without approval. During first Test at Perth against Pakistan Khawaja wore the black armband to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Palestine.

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What is your opinion on the ICC's decision regarding Usman Khawaja raising his voice for the cause of humanity?
There are a number of instances where ICC has not reprimanded players for showing support and adherence to political ideologies. Below are a few for reference.

1.Indian cricketers wore army camouflage-style caps in a match with Australia in 2019 in India in solidarity with Indian paramilitary police.

2.Australia’s cricket team took knee alongside West Indies for first time to support BLM in a T20 Match in 2021.

3.India took the knee to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter movement during its famous T20 WC clash against Pakistan in UAE.

So ICC remained tight lip on above occasions then why is it reprimanding Usman Khawaja now,when it allowed such actions before. Isn't it outright hypocrisy?
 
I think ICC is in the wrong to charge Khawaja for the black armband. In fact, I wouldn’t even mind the “all lives are equal” or “freedom” etc. messages - what’s wrong in those words exactly? ICC is just assuming that it implies something, which in itself is wrong.

If everything in the world was right and someone chose to wear a green armband (say to support earth), would that be wrong too?
 
The most generic and universal concepts of freedom and human rights that are word for word in the Geneva conventions are now too political for cricketers to support. What a world.
 
Usman Khawaja hits back at ICC revealing black armband was personal not political

Usman Khawaja says he will not wear a black armband at the Boxing Day Test, but will work with Cricket Australia (CA) on a way to express his support for people in Gaza.

On Thursday the ICC charged the Australian, the world’s leading run scorer in Tests in 2023, for breaching its clothing and equipment regulations for wearing a black armband without permission during the first Test against Pakistan in Perth.

Khawaja challenged the ICC ruling during a press conference launching CA’s Multicultural Action Plan on Friday. He said the armband was for a “personal bereavement”, that he complied with the ICC regulations and there had been precedents he had followed.

“I respect the ICC and the rules and regulations they have. I will be asking them and contesting that they make it fair and equitable for everyone, and they have consistency in how they officiate, that’s all I ask for. From my point of view, that consistency hasn’t been done yet,” he said.

CA chief executive Nick Hockley said since the Perth Test his organisation has been working with the ICC and Khawaja on a way the 67-Test veteran can share his message.

“The work that we’ve been doing since is to see if there’s a really respectful way that is very much unifying, brings people together, to allow Uzzy to really share his message and that’s the subject now of ICC consideration,” he said.

Under ICC rules, permission to wear a black armband from both the ICC and a player’s national body is required and messages for “political, religious

or racial” causes are barred. CA confirmed Khawaja had not discussed the gesture with the Australian governing body prior to the match.

Khawaja will receive a formal warning from the ICC if the charge is upheld. Subsequent breaches will result in increasing fines.

“I think there’s been plenty of people who’ve not had permission to wear stuff in the past,” the opener said. “I was very clear and open about the armband, so I’ll deal with that with the ICC and I’ll have those conversations with them.”

Khawaja said CA had been “very supportive” during the process and he reiterated his support for people in Gaza and said his empathy for their plight was his motivation.

“I told Nick [Hockley] literally just this morning that when I look at my Instagram and I’m seeing kids, innocent kids, videos of them dying, passing away, that’s what’s hit me the hardest,” he said. “I just imagine my young daughter, the same thing.”

The opener was speaking a the launch of the multicultural action plan, which aims to make Australian cricket more inclusive to culturally diverse communities.

Khawaja said there was still racism within a minority of Australian cricket, although the majority “have been absolutely great”.

He said he was called lazy as a young cricketer because he would sometimes lag behind others at fitness sessions during Ramadan, when he hadn’t eaten or drank all day.

“At that time, it was more or less ‘he’s not working hard enough’, they didn’t really understand what it was,” he said.

Molina Asthana, a lawyer who founded Multicultural Women in Sport and who has been a multicultural ambassador for Cricket Australia, said having a plan is important but the focus must be on long-term engagement.

“Any initiatives to include multicultural communities should be focused on their particular requirements or motivations, which may require long-term investment without immediate returns,” she said.

“For example, a focus on Afghan communities should be on their resettlement and using sport to do that.”

Asthana said the goals of the plan must be embedded in CA’s overall strategy, including measurable KPIs for executives. She said “racist attitudes prevent South Asian players getting opportunities to progress”.

Hockley declined to address racism in Australian cricket, but said he wanted to make every cricket environment as inclusive as possible. “I think we’ve been really clear that any form of discrimination has no part in cricket and this is really a positive proactive plan.”
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
 
Usman Khawaja during Australia vs Pakistan pre-game presser:

"I don't have any agendas, other than to shine a light on what I feel very passionate and strong about,"

"I'm trying to do it in the most respectful way possible. What I wrote on my shoes, I thought about it for a while. I made sure I didn't want to segregate different parts of the population, religious beliefs and community, hence why I kept religion out of this.”

"I'm talking about humanitarian issues… That is literally the crux of it.”

"The reason I'm doing it is because it hit me hard. I told Nick (Hockley) literally just this morning that when I'm looking at my Instagram, and I see kids, innocent kids, videos of them dying, that's what's hit me the hardest.”

"I just imagined my young daughter … I get emotional talking about it right now. For me, that's the reason I'm doing this. I don't have any hidden agendas … I don't get anything out of this. I just feel like it's my responsibility to speak up on this.”

"We live in such a beautiful country. I'm blessed to be able to live in Australia, I can walk outside and not have to worry about a thing. My kids can do the same. I just want that for the rest of the world."

"The shoes were for a different matter, I'm happy to say that, but the armband (reprimand) made no sense to me.”

"I followed all the regulations and past precedents – guys have put stickers on their bats, names on their shoes, done all sorts of things in the past without ICC approval and never been reprimanded.”

"I respect the ICC and all the regulations they have, I will be asking them and contesting them … From my point of view, that consistency hasn't been done yet."

"The ICC has rules in place for very good reason and we expect our players to follow and comply with those regulations,"

"The work that we've been doing since is to see if there's a really respectful way that is very much unifying, that brings people together, to allow Uzzie to really share his message.”

"That's the subject now of ICC consideration … we'll wait to see the outcome of those before going any further."​
 
Usman Khawaja during Australia vs Pakistan pre-game presser:

"I don't have any agendas, other than to shine a light on what I feel very passionate and strong about,"

"I'm trying to do it in the most respectful way possible. What I wrote on my shoes, I thought about it for a while. I made sure I didn't want to segregate different parts of the population, religious beliefs and community, hence why I kept religion out of this.”

"I'm talking about humanitarian issues… That is literally the crux of it.”

"The reason I'm doing it is because it hit me hard. I told Nick (Hockley) literally just this morning that when I'm looking at my Instagram, and I see kids, innocent kids, videos of them dying, that's what's hit me the hardest.”

"I just imagined my young daughter … I get emotional talking about it right now. For me, that's the reason I'm doing this. I don't have any hidden agendas … I don't get anything out of this. I just feel like it's my responsibility to speak up on this.”

"We live in such a beautiful country. I'm blessed to be able to live in Australia, I can walk outside and not have to worry about a thing. My kids can do the same. I just want that for the rest of the world."

"The shoes were for a different matter, I'm happy to say that, but the armband (reprimand) made no sense to me.”

"I followed all the regulations and past precedents – guys have put stickers on their bats, names on their shoes, done all sorts of things in the past without ICC approval and never been reprimanded.”

"I respect the ICC and all the regulations they have, I will be asking them and contesting them … From my point of view, that consistency hasn't been done yet."

"The ICC has rules in place for very good reason and we expect our players to follow and comply with those regulations,"

"The work that we've been doing since is to see if there's a really respectful way that is very much unifying, that brings people together, to allow Uzzie to really share his message.”

"That's the subject now of ICC consideration … we'll wait to see the outcome of those before going any further."​

Respect to Usman for expressing his views so eloquently

 
In an interview with News Corp, former Zimbabwean cricketer Henry Olonga has come out and voiced his support for Khawaja’s stance, but warned him it could also bring about an early end to his career.

Olonga delivered arguably the most notable protest when he and former teammate Andrew Flower word black armbands during the 2003 Cricket World Cup.

Their stance was done to mourn “the death of democracy” under the country’s president Robert Mugabe.

Olonga’s career for his country came to an end during the World Cup.

“The same people saying politics and sport don’t mix are the same people parading (Australian Prime Minister) Anthony Albanese and (Indian Prime Minister) Narendra Modi in a chariot at the cricket in India,’’ Olonga said to News Corp.

“So when it is convenient for the ICC they are happy to parade politicians so it’s hard with clean hands for them to come down on Uzzy.

“My concern is that if Uzzy digs his heels in he may well find himself on the wrong side of everything.

“In the case of Israel Folau he kept going and lost his career. I kept going and I lost my career. History will suggest if Uzzy keeps going this could end his career. I hope it doesn’t. I hope Australia is a much more tolerant country.”

 
Usman Khawaja says armband for 'personal bereavement' not for Gaza civilians

Australia opener Usman Khawaja says the black armband he wore on the first day of the first Test against Pakistan was for a "personal bereavement" and not in support of civilians in Gaza.

The 37-year-old was charged by the International Cricket Council on Thursday for wearing the armband.

Khawaja says he will contest the charge but will not wear the armband during the second Test from 26 December.

"I followed all the regulations and past precedents," Khawaja said.

"The ICC asked me what it was for, I told them it was for a personal bereavement - I never ever stated it was for anything else," he added.

"Guys have put stickers on their bats, names on their shoes, done all sorts of things in the past without ICC approval and never been reprimanded.

"I will be asking them and contesting they make it fair and equitable for everyone and they have consistency in how they officiate. That consistency hasn't been done yet."

In the days leading up to the first Test, Khawaja - who has posted on social media about the conflict in Gaza - was pictured wearing shoes with the words "all lives are equal" and "freedom is a human right".

He intended to wear them on the field but the ICC deemed him in breach of its clothing and equipment regulations.

The ICC said: "Usman displayed a personal message during the first Test match against Pakistan without seeking the prior approval of Cricket Australia and the ICC to display it, as required in the regulations for personal messages."

Under ICC regulations, players cannot display messages of political, religious or racial causes during international matches.

"The shoes were for a different matter, I'm happy to say that," said Khawaja. "But the armband [reprimand] made no sense to me."

Israel launched a major military campaign in Gaza in response to a cross-border attack by hundreds of Hamas gunmen on 7 October, in which at least 1,400 people were killed and about 240 others taken hostage.

Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry says more than 20,000 people have been killed in the territory since Israel launched its retaliatory campaign.

Khawaja, who is Muslim, has said his message is a "humanitarian appeal" and not a political statement.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said the organisation is working with Khawaja to find an alternative way to express his support for humanitarian issues.

Australia lead the three-match series 1-0 with the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground starting on 26 December.

BBC
 
He isn't expected to wear it for the Boxing day test.
I'm curious to see how the ICC reacts to the appeal, and if they change their rules going foward.
 
Usman Khawaja says armband for 'personal bereavement' not for Gaza civilians

Australia opener Usman Khawaja says the black armband he wore on the first day of the first Test against Pakistan was for a "personal bereavement" and not in support of civilians in Gaza.

The 37-year-old was charged by the International Cricket Council on Thursday for wearing the armband.

Khawaja says he will contest the charge but will not wear the armband during the second Test from 26 December.

"I followed all the regulations and past precedents," Khawaja said.

"The ICC asked me what it was for, I told them it was for a personal bereavement - I never ever stated it was for anything else," he added.

"Guys have put stickers on their bats, names on their shoes, done all sorts of things in the past without ICC approval and never been reprimanded.

"I will be asking them and contesting they make it fair and equitable for everyone and they have consistency in how they officiate. That consistency hasn't been done yet."

In the days leading up to the first Test, Khawaja - who has posted on social media about the conflict in Gaza - was pictured wearing shoes with the words "all lives are equal" and "freedom is a human right".

He intended to wear them on the field but the ICC deemed him in breach of its clothing and equipment regulations.

The ICC said: "Usman displayed a personal message during the first Test match against Pakistan without seeking the prior approval of Cricket Australia and the ICC to display it, as required in the regulations for personal messages."

Under ICC regulations, players cannot display messages of political, religious or racial causes during international matches.

"The shoes were for a different matter, I'm happy to say that," said Khawaja. "But the armband [reprimand] made no sense to me."

Israel launched a major military campaign in Gaza in response to a cross-border attack by hundreds of Hamas gunmen on 7 October, in which at least 1,400 people were killed and about 240 others taken hostage.

Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry says more than 20,000 people have been killed in the territory since Israel launched its retaliatory campaign.

Khawaja, who is Muslim, has said his message is a "humanitarian appeal" and not a political statement.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said the organisation is working with Khawaja to find an alternative way to express his support for humanitarian issues.

Australia lead the three-match series 1-0 with the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground starting on 26 December.

BBC
He is taking a U-turn from his stance. First, he was firm in his belief that 'All lives are equal,' and now he is suggesting a black armband for personal bereavement.
 
He should just put a watermelon sticker on his clothes or bat... if anyone asks... i like watermelon, the rest of the world knows what you mean.
 
The Palestinian issue is one that is dear to my heart and I respect him for his stance but also am aware of the fact that the ICC needs to enforce their rules.

For black lives Matter, all the countries agreed, and many prominent cricketing countries have black players who have experienced racism in cricket, too.

The ICC is bound to act - Imagine an Israeli Sympathiser Cricketer puts up an Israeli flag in retaliation, it would just be a never ending spiral. Players should be able to express their opinions after the match is over.
 
Yeah ahead of all the ones like imam Bavuma klrahul sure - but nowhere close to a " legend " .
Thats subjective really.

The first south Asian origin player to dominate in Aussie cricket, breakdown barriers etc, more centuries than Chappel, Slater, Martyn etc is quite a big deal.

I guess for some people like you his name is enough to discredit him from being a legend.
 
Thats subjective really.

The first south Asian origin player to dominate in Aussie cricket, breakdown barriers etc, more centuries than Chappel, Slater, Martyn etc is quite a big deal.

I guess for some people like you his name is enough to discredit him from being a legend.
Nah it ain't subjective at all, he is a good batsman and that's it.
If he is a legend than that word has no meaning at all
 
Did players have to take permission from ICC for taking the knee?

If anything taking the knee was a more explicit political statement. Here Khawaja has not even named any specific cause.

I get it, rules are rules, but it becomes clear you are allowed to speak on some issues and not others. Even hinting at them is barred which I guess is what we refer to as freedom of speech these days.
 
If anything taking the knee was a more explicit political statement. Here Khawaja has not even named any specific cause.

I get it, rules are rules, but it becomes clear you are allowed to speak on some issues and not others. Even hinting at them is barred which I guess is what we refer to as freedom of speech these days.

How do we know it's barred when he missed out on taking prior permission?

This point would have been valid if he had taken permission and ICC denied permission for the same.
 
How do we know it's barred when he missed out on taking prior permission?

This point would have been valid if he had taken permission and ICC denied permission for the same.

Why would you need prior permission to write a generic phrase about humanity - naming no names - on your shoe?
 
Only when you are Muslim or supporting a Muslim cause - even though Usman has clarified it's an a-religious message.

Which are other non-Muslim cause allowed without permission?

If ICC did so, certainly they are bunch of hypocrites.
 
@MenInG

1. Which other non-Muslim cause was allowed without permission?
2. Which other non-Muslim cause was allowed?

I guess you're answering question #2, when it was actually question #1.
 
@MenInG

1. Which other non-Muslim cause was allowed without permission?
2. Which other non-Muslim cause was allowed?

I guess you're answering question #2, when it was actually question #1.

I think you are being deliberately obtuse.

These are all items that were allowed by the ICC without a whimper.

Clearly are not Muslim causes.



1703268390907.png
 
Why is the ICC picking and choosing when they want to enforce rules & regulations

The ongoing issue between Usman Khawaja and ICC
ICC unhappy with the black armband worn by Khawaja
Cricket Australia where are you regarding the issue?
ICC's inconsistency regarding enforcing rules and regulations
ICC picking and choosing on some players regarding their rules
Should Usman Khawaja get more support from other cricketers?

 
ICC has garnered great criticism for their foolish actions. Either they should take action against all political representations by players or should condone all, if they can't enforce a fair policy across the board.
 
I think you are being deliberately obtuse.

These are all items that were allowed by the ICC without a whimper.

Clearly are not Muslim causes.



View attachment 140568

Even black arm band was allowed and Khawaja wasn't stopped from playing the match.

Fine is for failing to get prior permission and not for wearing armband.

Failing to get permission before the match - this didn't happen in other cases.
 
Mikey Holding was interviewed about Usman Khawaja's political stance and had some blunt words. I'm surprised he went soooo hard against the ICC. Kudos to him. Legend with the ball, and legend off the field too:

“I’ve been following the Khawaja fiasco and I cannot say I’m surprised by the ICC stance. If it had been most other organisations that showed some semblance of consistency with their attitude and behaviour on issues I could claim surprise, but not them.Once again they show their hypocrisy and lack of moral standing as an organisation."

“The ICC regulations say regarding messaging ‘approval shall not be granted for messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes’. So how the f..k people were allowed to take the knee for BLM and stumps were covered with LGBTQ colours?”
 
1703394349873.png

This is the image Usman Khawaja wanted to wear at the Boxing Day Test, but the ICC said no

Usman Khawaja has been denied a fresh application to the International Cricket Council to wear a humanitarian logo to acknowledge lives lost in Gaza – this time for the image of a black dove holding an olive branch – on his shoes at the Boxing Day Test.

Khawaja trained at the MCG on Sunday wearing logos of a black dove holding an olive branch during Australia’s main session ahead of the second Test against Pakistan.

He wore the logo on his right shoe and also had one on the back of his bat.

The bat logo was accompanied by a reference to article one of the Universal declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

Khawaja checked the logo with both Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association ahead of the MCG Test and got no objection from either body. But a rejection of his application arrived from the ICC on Sunday morning.

Khawaja declined to comment when approached by this masthead, but had spoken in depth about his position at the MCG on Friday.

He received a reprimand from the ICC for wearing a black armband during the Perth Test last week, having previously been stopped from wearing the slogans “all lives are equal” and “freedom is a human right” on his shoes during the same game.

“I followed all the regulations, past precedents, guys that put stickers on their bats, names on their shoes, done all sorts of things in the past without ICC approval and never been reprimanded. I respect what the ICC and the rules and regulations they have,” Khawaja said on Friday.

“I will be asking them and contesting they make it fair and equitable for everyone, and they have consistency in how they officiate. That consistency hasn’t been done yet.

“When I’m looking at my Instagram and seeing innocent kids, videos of them dying, passing away, that’s what hit me the hardest.

“I just imagine my young daughter in my arms and the same thing. I get emotional talking about it right now again. For me, that’s the reason I’m doing this. I don’t have any hidden agendas.

“If anything, this brings up more negativity towards me. People come attacking me. I don’t get anything out of this. I just feel like it’s my responsibility to speak up on this.

“We live in such a beautiful country. I’m blessed to live in Australia. I can walk outside, don’t have to worry about a thing. My kids can do the same. I just want that for the rest of the world.”

The dove logo and the reference to the human rights declaration are very similar in size and shape to the Eagle with a bible verse that Marnus Labuschagne has on his bat.

The verse, Isaiah 40:31, states: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

The ICC was contacted for comment.

SOURCE: SMH
 
View attachment 140607

This is the image Usman Khawaja wanted to wear at the Boxing Day Test, but the ICC said no

Usman Khawaja has been denied a fresh application to the International Cricket Council to wear a humanitarian logo to acknowledge lives lost in Gaza – this time for the image of a black dove holding an olive branch – on his shoes at the Boxing Day Test.

Khawaja trained at the MCG on Sunday wearing logos of a black dove holding an olive branch during Australia’s main session ahead of the second Test against Pakistan.

He wore the logo on his right shoe and also had one on the back of his bat.

The bat logo was accompanied by a reference to article one of the Universal declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

Khawaja checked the logo with both Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association ahead of the MCG Test and got no objection from either body. But a rejection of his application arrived from the ICC on Sunday morning.

Khawaja declined to comment when approached by this masthead, but had spoken in depth about his position at the MCG on Friday.

He received a reprimand from the ICC for wearing a black armband during the Perth Test last week, having previously been stopped from wearing the slogans “all lives are equal” and “freedom is a human right” on his shoes during the same game.

“I followed all the regulations, past precedents, guys that put stickers on their bats, names on their shoes, done all sorts of things in the past without ICC approval and never been reprimanded. I respect what the ICC and the rules and regulations they have,” Khawaja said on Friday.

“I will be asking them and contesting they make it fair and equitable for everyone, and they have consistency in how they officiate. That consistency hasn’t been done yet.

“When I’m looking at my Instagram and seeing innocent kids, videos of them dying, passing away, that’s what hit me the hardest.

“I just imagine my young daughter in my arms and the same thing. I get emotional talking about it right now again. For me, that’s the reason I’m doing this. I don’t have any hidden agendas.

“If anything, this brings up more negativity towards me. People come attacking me. I don’t get anything out of this. I just feel like it’s my responsibility to speak up on this.

“We live in such a beautiful country. I’m blessed to live in Australia. I can walk outside, don’t have to worry about a thing. My kids can do the same. I just want that for the rest of the world.”

The dove logo and the reference to the human rights declaration are very similar in size and shape to the Eagle with a bible verse that Marnus Labuschagne has on his bat.

The verse, Isaiah 40:31, states: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

The ICC was contacted for comment.

SOURCE: SMH

Thoes shoes look dope, I kind of want to stencil them into my trainers now too.
 
Even with the current controversy, Usman Khawaja seems really confident. I noticed his confidence during the press conference at the MCG. The Boxing Day Test will be more exciting as we get to see how Khawaja performs under pressure during this controversy.
 
Shame on ICC.

Usman did nothing wrong there. As a matter of fact, more players should do it.
 
I don't understand why ICC is banning Khwaja from wearing shoes in support of Palestinians. Its not like he is running around the ground with a banner. No one can read or understand what is on his shoes. Not even the close in fielders may have noticed it except for the eagle eyed cameramen.

As long as someone is not outright wearing apparel calling for murder or genocide or rebellion, everything should be allowed. Let players support whatever causes they want. If the spectators don't like it, let them boo the players. It all adds to the drama of dying Test cricket.
 
ICC Statement as reported on Social Media

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Pat Cummins on Usman Khawaja/Dove issue:


“I don’t know the ins and outs of the application, but I think it is pretty vanilla, a dove,”

“We really support Uzzy, I think he’s standing up for what he believes and I think he’s doing it really respectfully.

“All lives are equal and I don’t think that’s very offensive, and I’d say the same about the dove. That’s Uzzy. He can hold his head high the way he’s gone about it, but there’s rules in place, so I believe the ICC have said they’re not going to approve that. They make up the rules and you’ve got to accept it.”

“That’s the environment we try to create,”

“Everyone is at their best when they’re bringing their own self to any group. We’re talking about people here, not just talking about guys who hit a cricket ball or bowl a cricket ball, they’re real people.

“I’ve spoken to Uzzy a fair bit. I won’t go into too [much] depth, but it’s really similar to what he’s said publicly. He just sees all lives as equal, he sees the war there as a waste, and there’s a lot of loss that he’s trying to shine a light on that he thinks isn’t necessary. We support him.

“When you’re happy off the field you tend to play better and play with more freedom and clarity on the field and I think the best way to get that is to bring your own individual self to the group and we try to encourage that. It’s great that people like Uzzy feel like they can be themselves and stand up for things they’re passionate about within the team.”

 
Absolute nonsense by Khawaja. Learn to respect the rules.

Will it make a shred of difference to the Palestinian people if he wears a black armband or carries any message on his boots? Absolutely not. They don’t even know that he exists or who he is.

I bet like 99% of the ignoramuses, Khawaja doesn’t understand the history of this conflict and what the possible solutions could be in the future.

I find it funny when people “stand up” for a cause without understanding the history and context behind it.

If he genuinely wants to help, he can do so behind closed doors by helping with donations. Maybe he does that already, but he doesn’t need to wear any armbands or write anything on his boots to make a difference.

It is clearly an attention-seeking move and he has been looking at ways to appeasing and milk his Pakistani fan base for a quite a while now.
 
Only when you are Muslim or supporting a Muslim cause - even though Usman has clarified it's an a-religious message.
Usman’s clarifications mean nothing.

The reality is that Palestine is not humanitarian issue for Muslims. The only reason Muslims support the Palestinian cause is because of religious sentiments and ICC isn’t run by fools who don’t understand that.

There are many humanitarian crisis in the world but Muslims don’t feel strongly about it and are not vocal about it because they don’t have Muslims on the receiving end.

Therefore, Muslims claiming that they support Palestine because of humanity and not because they are Muslims means absolutely nothing.

Palestine crisis is a humanitarian issue for non-Muslims and a religious issue for Muslims. There is no point in denying that because there is nothing wrong with support a religious cause but at least don’t insult other people’s intelligence by putting a humanitarian spin on what is clearly a religious issue for you.
 
Absolute nonsense by Khawaja. Learn to respect the rules.

Will it make a shred of difference to the Palestinian people if he wears a black armband or carries any message on his boots? Absolutely not. They don’t even know that he exists or who he is.

I bet like 99% of the ignoramuses, Khawaja doesn’t understand the history of this conflict and what the possible solutions could be in the future.

I find it funny when people “stand up” for a cause without understanding the history and context behind it.

If he genuinely wants to help, he can do so behind closed doors by helping with donations. Maybe he does that already, but he doesn’t need to wear any armbands or write anything on his boots to make a difference.

It is clearly an attention-seeking move and he has been looking at ways to appeasing and milk his Pakistani fan base for a quite a while now.
But as Muslims it's our responsibility to stand up against Injustice. He is using his well known public image to draw attention to a humanitarian crisis.

What is happening in Palestine is beyond terrible, and the issue is most of the world powers are supporting Israel in inflicting this genocide.

Obviously being a Muslim, the issue is closer to him. But I don't see what he is doing wrong. If players are allowed to take the knee for BLM he is well within his rights as a Muslim sportsman to raise awareness for the Palestinian cause.
 
Usman’s clarifications mean nothing.

The reality is that Palestine is not humanitarian issue for Muslims. The only reason Muslims support the Palestinian cause is because of religious sentiments and ICC isn’t run by fools who don’t understand that.

There are many humanitarian crisis in the world but Muslims don’t feel strongly about it and are not vocal about it because they don’t have Muslims on the receiving end.

Therefore, Muslims claiming that they support Palestine because of humanity and not because they are Muslims means absolutely nothing.

Palestine crisis is a humanitarian issue for non-Muslims and a religious issue for Muslims. There is no point in denying that because there is nothing wrong with support a religious cause but at least don’t insult other people’s intelligence by putting a humanitarian spin on what is clearly a religious issue for you.

He is free to raise whatever issue he feels like and he should be commended for standing up to the genocide. If you can't be bothered yourself to show sympathy then don't stop others from doing the same.
 
No need to discuss the Palestinian issue on this thread - any further posts will be deleted - stick to Usman/ICC/Cricket
 
England Cricket team is allowed to wear poppies, why is Khawaja not allowed to wear a dove?
 
Today Ussy has his daughter's names on his shoe. Let's see if the ICC charge him for this haha

S9DLdtG.jpg
 
Khawaja writes daughters’ names on his shoes for Boxing Day Test

Usman Khawaja has donned shoes adorned with the names of his daughters Aisha and Ayla to continue his human rights protest against the Israel-Hamas war, while opening the batting for Australia in the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan at the MCG.

The decision to highlight his daughters comes after the International Cricket Council this week refused an application compiled with Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association. Khawaja wanted to have a dove insignia on his bat and shoes with a pointer to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Khawaja was refused permission to wear shoes with the words “all lives are equal” and “freedom is a human right” before the first Test in Perth, and was reprimanded by the ICC for wearing a black armband instead.

He first invoked his daughters on Saturday at the MCG while launching Cricket Australia’s Multicultural Action Plan, aimed at making cricket a more inclusive sport.

“What I wrote on my shoes (in Perth), I thought about it for a while,” he said on Saturday. “I made sure I didn’t want to segregate different parts of the population, religious beliefs and communities. I wanted it to be really broad because I’m speaking about humanitarian issues.

“The reason I’m doing it because it hit me hard. When I’m looking at my Instagram and seeing innocent kids, videos of them dying, passing away, that’s what hit me the hardest.

“I just imagine my young daughter in my arms ... I get emotional talking about it again. I don’t have any hidden agendas. If anything, this brings up more negativity towards me. I don’t get anything out of this.”

Khawaja’s former teammate Mike Hussey has strongly endorsed Khawaja’s humanitarian stance.

“I think his real authentic self is coming out,” Hussey said at the MCG on Tuesday ahead of the second Test against Pakistan, after being inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. “This is who he is. He’s very passionate in his beliefs and his morals and his values. He’s not afraid to put them out there.”

“I’m quite proud of him, actually,” added Hussey, who played with Khawaja for Australia and captained him at the Sydney Thunder. “I don’t think he’s trying to be divisive or political or anything like that. I feel as though he’s taking a humanitarian sort of view on life.

“I respect what he’s done. He’s got to follow the rules that are set by the ICC, but he certainly is sticking true to what he believes in. And I think that’s the sort of guy he is, and certainly [has been] throughout his whole career.

“You’ve got to remember this guy would have faced a lot of challenges in his career here in Australia growing up. Things have changed a lot in the last probably five to 10 years. And so for him to come through and feel like he’s confident enough to share his beliefs, I think is so critical.”

Khawaja was born in Pakistan and moved to Australia with his family as a young child. He is the first Muslim to play cricket for Australia and has had a remarkable late-career resurgence as an opening batsman.

The 37-year-old’s initial attempt to wear messaging on his shoes in Perth without official permission from Cricket Australia or the ICC appears to have created a roadblock for further attempts to spread his message. The writing was in the colours of a Palestinian flag.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley alluded to this during a press conference at the MCG ahead of the first session of the Boxing Day Test.

“My understanding is the context of the lead in to the Perth Test, and the context of the lead-in to the making of the application [contributed to the ICC’s response]. Again, we worked with Ussie to try and find something which was nonpartisan, non-religious, apolitical, the universally recognised symbol of peace. But I think the ICC statement calls out the broader context,” Hockley said on Tuesday.

The ICC and Khawaja have both declined to comment, but on Monday night Khawaja posted on his Instagram a reel of other players wearing personal symbols with the caption: “Merry Christmas everybody. Sometimes you just gotta laugh. Cya at Boxing Day. #inconsistent #doublestandards”

They included Marnus Labuschagne with an eagle on his bat pointing to a Bible verse.

SOURCE: SMH
 
The ICC have messed up by failing to consistently apply their own rules on player symbols/messages.

However I'll be blunt here. Khawaja has sincere intentions but this performative pro-Palestinian posturing from Muslim athletes and celebrities is futile and cringeworthy.

Muslims represent one of the biggest, loudest population blocs on the planet yet are amongst the most dispossessed and politically powerless because we don't know how to channel our self-righteous rage and performative protests into a disciplined, organised, unified mass movement.

Did the Israeli-Palestinian conflict begin on October 7th ? Has Gaza only been under siege in the last few weeks ? Where were your voices before ? Have any of these Muslim celebrities organised demonstrations, lobbied MPs or donated to Palestinian groups ?

The Jewish community are a tiny fraction of the global Muslim population yet exert a far more powerful hold over the one nation with genuine leverage over Israel (America) because they've done just that for 70+ years.
 
Really scathing article in the Guardian, attacking the ICC and liked this quote -- " For the ICC, which is essentially an escrow company made to funnel funds between boards and broadcasters, the easiest thing is to ignore it all."

By banning Khawaja’s protest the ICC has boosted his message and revealed its own hypocrisy

The International Cricket Council doesn’t appear to mind personal beliefs, just not when they are applied too specifically and become political

Really, the International Cricket Council could not have done Usman Khawaja more of a favour. Had Australia’s opener been allowed to take the field for the Perth Test wearing shoes with two blandly general phrases about human rights written in pen on the sidewall, a few photos would have been published and that would have been that.

Instead, they banned the move, as well as his subsequent request to adorn his bat with the peace symbol of a dove holding an olive branch. Which has meant that the story has stayed in the news ever since among millions of views for Khawaja’s social media posts on the matter. His aim to publicly protest the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Indeed, you can ask why he needs to wear a symbol now, when events off the field have generated more attention. But it was always about the principle of using the stage that his ability affords, publicly normalising a gesture of support. Khawaja understands that doing nothing is as much a decision as doing something. Silence and speaking are choices. Passivity is an action. One individual speaking rarely creates change, but in time the collective swell of speech can. The entwined history of Palestine, Israel and Gaza is horrendously gnarled, but that only makes the principle of peace more urgent.

Khawaja wants the right to advance that principle in his place as a cricketer. His dove is a podium contender for innocuous iconography. Marnus Labuschagne has long worn a religious eagle sticker on his bat, which for the ICC is fine because it represents personal belief. They might want to note that Christian morality does include the primacy of human life and of mercy. Apparently that’s fine in the abstract – but in applying such beliefs too specifically, say to the idea that cities should not be bombed for months by military ordnance, beliefs become political.

Cricketers wear black armbands or hold moments of silence for victims of tragedy. They play fundraiser games after natural disasters. But deliberate human violence ordered and enacted by states? That’s politics, made manifest. Humans made those decisions, carried them out, had a rationale. For the ICC, which is essentially an escrow company made to funnel funds between boards and broadcasters, the easiest thing is to ignore it all.

In this aversion lies the particular contradiction – it seems trivial to call it irony, but what is hypocrisy if not irony in action – of an inherently politicised organiser of an inherently politicised sport. National teams playing national teams is political by definition. The ICC as a collection of members is run by the disproportionate might of India’s board, which commands the votes of smaller boards. The Indian board is now an unofficial arm of the national government, stacked with Bharatiya Janata party affiliates and hosting the recent World Cup final in a stadium named after the sitting prime minister.

India and Pakistan won’t tour one another due to political acrimony. Sri Lanka Cricket has as often been run from parliament as the committee rooms. South Africa’s sports minister recently sacked its corrupt cricket board. Bangladesh captain Shakib al-Hasan is running for a parliamentary seat. The ICC’s main sponsor is Aramco, the royal family oil company that drives Saudi Arabia’s economic might and shields it from the consequences of its depredations.

Afghanistan’s women’s cricket team dream of being unaffected by politics, having fled the country where women’s sport and education are banned. Meanwhile, the Taliban-backed board just announced it will freeze some of its top men’s players out of all foreign T20 leagues, denying them an income as punishment for wanting flexibility in representing the national team on far lower pay. Zimbabwe cricket bore the despotic fingerprints of Robert Mugabe’s henchmen for years, while Henry Olonga and Andy Flower are still praised for their black-armband protest against Mugabe at the 2003 World Cup. The current ICC would rule that protest illegal.

Eventually it all traces back to international cricket’s proudest legacy – the concerted blockade of apartheid South Africa through the 1970s and 1980s that helped fix that regime’s status as a pariah until change arrived. If the situation recurred today, one has far less confidence that cricket would take as thorough an approach.

The BCCI might argue that there was no value in denying a potential revenue stream and losing a quality member. The ICC chief executive, Geoff Allardice, might say, as he did on Afghanistan, that “as a cricket board, they’re functioning under the laws of their country,” and it isn’t his place to influence spending of the millions handed out each year. And if Khawaja decided to express his opposition with a quiet, symbolic act of protest, he would be told: “Sorry champ. None of that allowed. Get out there and bat.”

The Guardian
 
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