It was for bereavement: Usman Khawaja to challenge ICC’s charge on wearing black armband


Image Source : GETTY Australian opener Usman Khawaja at the MCG while addressing the reporters

Australian opener Usman Khawaja, who smashed a 90 in the second innings of the first Test against Pakistan in Perth, has found himself in off-field turmoil with the ICC over display of personal expression on the field. Khawaja, who was seen wearing a black armband in the Perth Test last week, was pulled up by ICC for doing so without prior approval from Cricket Australia and the global cricketing body. However, Khawaja has hit back saying that the armband he wore was for personal bereavement (the only way it is allowed) and will challenge ICC’s verdict.

Speaking to the reporters on Friday, December 22 ahead of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Khawaja said that he didn’t have any hidden agendas or anything and was open with the ICC when he was asked about the armband on the second day of the Test match.

“They asked me on day two [in Perth] what it was for and told them it was for a personal bereavement,” he said of the armband. “I never ever stated it was for anything else. The shoes were a different matter, I’m happy to say that. The armband makes no sense to me. 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 the ICC and the rules and regulations they have. 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. I was very open and honest with that. I’ll deal with that with the ICC,” he said.

Khawaja said that he wanted to shine the light on issues that affect everyone and after the shoes thing (amid the Gaza crisis), which he was barred from wearing, he was clear about not alienating any part of society on any basis with which discrimination can take place. Khawaja said that he spoke because the death of innocent kids hit him really hard and got emotional while speaking about the same.

“I wanted it to be really broad because I’m speaking about humanitarian issues. I’m talking about article one in the Unified Declaration of Human Rights. The reason I’m doing it is because it hit me hard.

“I told Nick that 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 again. I don’t have any hidden agendas,” he added while confirming that he won’t sport the armband in the second Test at the MCG.

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