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‘I stand by what I said and I’ll stand by it forever’ – Usman Khawaja doubles down on ICC shoe ban with black armband response

Usman Khawaja sports black armband in protest after ICC shoe ban
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Usman Khawaja is wearing a black armband during Australia’s first Test against Pakistan after the ICC banned him from wearing shoes bearing the words ‘All lives are equal’.

Following the controversy in the build up to the Test where Khawaja posted a video on social media stating he intended to fight the ICC’s decision, he has opened the batting wearing a plain black armband. Australia chose to bat on day one at Perth with Khawaja opening the batting with David Warner.

Ahead of the match, Khawaja wore the shoes, which also bore the words ‘Freedom is a human right” in training at the Optus Stadium. It was confirmed in a press conference by Pat Cummins that the ICC had blocked Khawaja from wearing the shoes during the match to adhere to their regulations on displaying political messages. The messages have been taped over on the shoes Khawaja is wearing.


Before the start of play on Day One, Khawaja spoke to 7 Cricket on the outfield where he restated his intention to appeal the ICC’s ruling: “I’m a grown man, I can do anything I want, but the ICC will just keep coming down and giving me fines and at some point it will detract from the game. I stand by what I said, I’ll stand by it I think forever, but for me I also need to go out there and focus on what I’m doing. But it’s right at the forefront of my mind.”

Asked if he would wait until the end of the match or the series to attempt to overturn the decision, Khawaja said: “No, I’ll try to do it as soon as possible. I think there’s already been a precedent set in the past that the ICC have allowed – a precedent set when other players have done stuff in the past that the ICC haven’t done anything. So I find it a bit unfair that they’ve come down on me at this point in time when there’s definitely been precedents set in the past with similar things.”

The ICC’s clothing and equipment rules and regulations state that personal messages have to be approved by the ICC before a player can sport them during a game. However, they also state that “approval shall not be granted for messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes.”

After 19 overs of the first session of the day, Khawaja was unbeaten on 33 with Australia having reached 95-0.

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