Australia PM praises Khawaja for showing courage amid stand-off with ICC

04:37 PM Jan 02, 2024 | PTI |

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has praised Usman Khawaja’s courage amid his stand-off with the ICC after expressing solidarity with the victims of the conflict between Palestine and Israel.


The ICC has barred the Australian opener from displaying messages of equality and freedom, specifically a dove logo and an olive branch on his shoes, during the Test series against Pakistan.

The decision was based on the international regulation that prohibits players from showcasing personal messages on their uniforms But his act has won him an admirer in the country’s premier who touched upon Khawaja’s gesture during an address to the Australian and Pakistan teams ahead of the Sydney Test.

”I’d like to congratulate (Khawaja) for the courage he has shown standing up for human values,” Albanese said.

”He has shown courage, and the fact that the team has backed him in is a great thing.” ”When Ussie and Dave (David Warner) go out, it will be a very special moment, when you walk on to the SCG,” Albanese added. The SCG Test will mark the last time Khawaja and Warner will be walking out together to open the innings with the latter retiring from the traditional format after the match beginning on Wednesday.


Last week, Australian captain Pat Cummins had come in support of his teammate, saying the opener’s attempt to bring to the fore the humanitarian crisis in Gaza was ”not offensive.” Cricket’s global governing body, the ICC, had rejected Khawaja’s application to have a sticker showing a black dove holding an olive branch on his bat and shoes during the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan.

”We really support Uzzy. He’s standing up for what he believes and I think he’s done it really respectfully,” Cummins had said on the eve of the second Test at the MCG, which Australia won to wrap up the series.

”As I said last week, ‘All lives are equal’, I don’t think that’s very offensive and I’d say the same about the dove,” Cummins had said.

Notably, the ICC reprimanded Khawaja for wearing a black armband during Australia’s 360-run win over Pakistan in Perth, the action coming after he was barred from wearing boots with the messages ”Freedom is a human right” and ”All lives are equal” in the colours of the Palestinian flag during the match at the Optus Stadium.


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