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'Double standards': Khawaja savages ICC hypocrisy in Instagram post as Cummins defends 'pretty vanilla' protest

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25th December, 2023
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Usman Khawaja has responded to ‘double standards’ by the International Cricket Council, after being told he can’t wear a dove sticker on his bat and shoes in the Boxing Day Test after displaying them at training on Sunday.

The stickers featured a black dove, the international symbol for peace, on an olive branch but the ICC has already told the Australian opening batter that he would again be in breach of its guidelines if they appeared on his equipment during Tuesday’s match at the MCG against Pakistan.

In reply, Khawaja took to Instagram to point out the ICC’s hypocrisy in enforcing its equipment rules, including pictures of a series of other international players, including teammate Marnus Labuschagne, who have featured symbols on their bats without the sporting body stepping in.

“Merry Christmas everybody. Sometimes you just gotta laugh. Cya at Boxing Day! #inconsistent #doublestandards” Khawaja wrote.

Australian captain Pat Cummins backed Khawaja over the ban, describing the dove symbol as ‘pretty vanilla’ and supporting his teammate’s right to have strong beliefs.

“We really support Uzzy. He’s standing up for what he believes and I think he’s done it really respectfully,” Cummins said.

“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.

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“That’s Uzzy. I think he can really hold his head high with the way he’s gone about it.

“But obviously there’s rules in place and 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.”

Khawaja was charged by the ICC for breaching its clothing and equipment regulations after he wore a black armband without permission during the first Test in Perth.

He wore the armband after he was told wearing shoes with the words “All lives are equal” and “Freedom is a human right” would breach ICC rules.

He was wearing plain black shoes and was greeted warmly by members of the Pakistan team as players from both sides went through light training sessions indoors at the MCG on Monday.

Australian cricket player Usman Khawaja speaks to the media during the 2023/24 NRMA Insurance Test Series Launch at Optus Stadium on December 11, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images for Cricket Australia)

Usman Khawaja. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images for Cricket Australia)

On Sunday Khawaja’s bat also contained a ‘UDHR’ reference to article one of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights that ‘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’.

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The ICC released a statement to News Corp confirming the ban and encouraging Khawaja to continue his stance ‘outside the playing arena’.

“The ICC, after giving due consideration to Usman Khawaja’s request for a personal message logo on his bat for the remainder of the Test series against Pakistan, did not approve the application,” the statement reads.

“Personal messages of this nature are not allowed as per clause F of the Clothing and Equipment Regulations, which can be found on the ICC Playing Conditions page.

“The ICC is supportive of players using their platforms outside of the playing arena to promote human rights, peace and equality and would encourage him to continue to use alternative platforms.”

Khawaja had insisted on Friday that the black armband he wore during the Perth Test was for a “personal bereavement” after being charged by the ICC.

He has ruled out wearing the black armband again for the second match of the series.

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Khawaja wants to show his support for those suffering during the ongoing conflict in the Middle East but the ICC has already charged him, four days after the first Test at Optus Stadium ended, for breaching the players’ code of conduct regarding equipment and clothing regulations.

Before that match, Khawaja wrote on his boots “All lives are equal” and “Freedom is a human right”.

Usman Khawaja looks on while waiting to bat during an Australian nets session at the WACA on December 11, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Usman Khawaja was banned from wearing an ‘All lives are equal’ message on his shoes during the Perth Test. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The Indian men’s team wore caps with a camouflage design four years ago in solidarity with their paramilitary police after officers were killed in a militant attack by a Pakistan-based group.

West Indies opener Chris Gayle was told by the ICC in 2021 to remove a sticker which read “The Universe Boss”, his self-appointed nickname, during a T20 series against Australia.

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