Australia skipper Pat Cummins backed his teammate Usman Khawaja in his attempts to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza but stated that the ICC rules need to be accepted. Cummins's remarks come after the International Cricket Council (ICC) denied Khawaja's latest application to display an image of a dove and an olive branch on his bat and shoes ahead of the second Test.
The logo that Khawaja intended to display is a reference to Article One of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which reads, "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."
While addressing a press conference, Cummins gave his views on ICC rejecting Khawaja's application and said:
"Not really, no - I don't know the ins and outs of the application, but I think it is pretty vanilla, a dove. We really support Uzzy, I think he's standing up for what he believes and I think he's doing it really respectfully. All lives are equal and I don't think that's very offensive, and I'd say the same about the dove. That's Uzzy. He can hold his head high the way he's gone about it, but there's rules in place, so 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," Cummins added.
An ICC spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo stated the clause due to which the left-handed batter's application was denied.
"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. 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."
Usman Khawaja was reprimanded by ICC for wearing black armband:
The left-handed batter was charged under the same clause for wearing a black armband during the first Test against Pakistan in Perth without any prior approval. Khawaja wore the armband on the field instead of writing and wearing the message "all lives are equal" and "freedom is a human right," as he originally intended to, to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Though black armbands are regularly worn by players to mourn the deaths of former players, family members or other significant individuals, they need permission from the national board and the ICC before they are worn. The second Test between Pakistan and Australia will be played on Tuesday at the MCG.