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Australia v Pakistan 2023/24

Australia PM lauds Usman Khawaja’s ‘courage’ amid ICC saga

Australia PM Anthony Albanese becomes the latest person to support Usman Khawaja for showing messages seemingly in solidarity with the Israel-Palestine conflict.
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese heaped praise on Usman Khawaja for showing solidarity with the victims of the Israel-Hamas War during the Test series against Pakistan.

Before the start of the first match, Khawaja wore shoes with ‘all lives are equal’ and ‘freedom is a human right’ messages during a practice session, interpreted as a statement of solidarity with victims of the conflict

The International Cricket Council (ICC) barred Khawaja from wearing the shoes as it went against the governing body’s regulations of not displaying any political messaging during a game. Although Khawaja promised to challenge the decision seeking approval, he taped over the messages and wore a black armband instead, which he said was for a “personal bereavement”. However, the ICC still reprimanded him for violating its clothing and equipment guidelines. Subsequently, Khawaja wished to sport an olive branch on his bat in the MCG Test, but this too was banned by the ICC


Many current and former cricketers have lent their support to Khawaja’s cause, including captain Pat Cummins, as Khawaja replaced the original shoe messages with the names of his daughters for the MCG Test.

While addressing the invited Australian and Pakistan players during the New Year’s Day reception at Kirribilli House, PM Albanese showered praises on Khawaja for “standing up for human values”: “I’d like to congratulate (Khawaja) for the courage he has shown standing up for human values. He has shown courage, and the fact that the team has backed him in is a great thing.”

“When Ussie and Dave go out, it will be a very special moment, when you walk onto the SCG,” Albanese added.

David Warner, who is set to play his farewell Test, became emotional while speaking about his childhood friend Khawaja, with whom he has played cricket since his formative years and has formed a solid opening pair since the latter’s return to the Test squad: “Just to see him come back the way he has the last two years has been absolutely amazing.

“I know his family are really, really proud of him. I’m really, really proud of him as a mate. When you’re childhood friends dreaming big and you get to go out here at the SCG, it’s fitting.”

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