Reprimanded for wearing black armband made no sense to me: Usman Khawaja
Khawaja wore the armband as a show of solidarity with Gaza amid the Israel-Palestine conflict during Australia's 360-run victory in Perth.
Australia batter Usman Khawaja, bewildered by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to charge him for wearing a black armband during the Perth Test against Pakistan, has stated the "decision made no sense".
Khawaja wore a black armband during Australia's 360-run victory in Perth, defying the ICC's move to ban his premeditated shoe protest.
The controversy unfolded against the backdrop of a personal bereavement, as Khawaja passionately defended his right to express his beliefs on the conflict in Gaza. The 37-year-old cricketer, known for his elegant left-handed strokes, had been charged by the ICC for breaching guidelines related to clothing and equipment regulations.
Khawaja explained the motivation behind his actions, highlighting the humanitarian crisis that deeply affected him. He spoke about scrolling through his Instagram feed and witnessing the tragic fate of innocent children in the conflict zone, a sight that struck a chord and fueled his determination to speak out.
"What I wrote on my shoes, I thought about it for a while about what I was going to write. I made sure that didn’t want to segregate different parts of the population. That is why I kept religion out of this," Khawaja told Fox Cricket.
"The reason I’m doing it is because it hit me hard. I told Nick this morning that when I’m looking at my Instagram and I’ve seen kids, innocent kids, videos of them dying, passing away, that’s what has hit me the hardest," he added.
Khawaja, who engaged in multiple discussions with Cricket Australia about his stance on the matter, confirmed that he doesn't intend to don the armband during the upcoming Boxing Day Test starting on Tuesday.
“For me, personally, dealing with the ICC, I think being reprimanded for wearing a black armband … made no sense to me. I followed all the regulations and past precedents. Guys have put stickers on their bats. Names on their shoes. They have done all sorts of things in the past without ICC approval and never been reprimanded,” said Khawaja.
“I respect what the ICC regulations are … but I will be asking them for consistency in how they officiate this. That is all I ask for. Because from my point of view, that consistency hasn’t been hasn’t been done yet.” he added.
Khawaja is confident he has the support of the national body. "We are working together. I feel like I have supported Cricket Australia and Cricket Australia have supported me too."
"I respect that there are rules and procedures and regulations and guidelines. I don’t think that they are always followed by ICC to a tee, but I am respecting them and just trying to do things aboveboard," he said.