'Don't Believe It's A Political Statement': Usman Khawaja Vows To 'Fight' Against ICC Guidelines After Row Over His Shoes; Watch

'Don't Believe It's A Political Statement': Usman Khawaja Vows To 'Fight' Against ICC Guidelines After Row Over His Shoes; Watch

Usman Khawaja was planning to wear the shoes on the first day of the Perth Test but he has been disallowed from doing so by the ICC.

Rohan SenUpdated: Wednesday, December 13, 2023, 01:22 PM IST
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Australia opener Usman Khawaja has broken his silence on the controversy surrounding his shoes ahead of the first Test against Pakistan in Perth which starts on December 14.

Khawaja wore shoes which read "Freedom is a human right" and "All lives are equal" while training with his teammates ahead of the first Test against Pakistan which starts on December 14.

He was planning to wear the shoes on the first day of the Perth Test but he has been disallowed from doing so by the ICC.

Khawaja therefore, released a video in which he spoke about what he believes in and what he thinks of the ICC's guidelines regarding political statements being made by cricketers on the field.

Khawaja wore these shoes to training on Tuesday

Khawaja wore these shoes to training on Tuesday |

Khawaja's emotional message

"I won't say much, I don't need to. What I do want is everyone who did get offended somehow just to ask yourself these questions.

"Is freedom not for everyone? Are all lives not equal?

"To me personally, it doesn't matter what race, religion or culture you are... Let's be honest about it, if me saying 'all lives are equal' as a result of the people being offended, to the point that they are calling me up and telling me off. Isn't that the bigger problem?

"These people obviously don't believe or whatever. And it's not just a handful of people, you'll be shocked about how many feel this way.

"What I've written on my shoes isn't political. I'm not taking sides. Human lives to me is equal. One Jewish life is equal to one Muslim life, is equal to one Hindu life, and so on.

"I'm just speaking up for those who don't have voice. This is close to my heart. When I see thousands of innocent children die without any repercussions or remorse I imagine my 2 girls. What if this was them?

"No one chooses where they are born. When I see the world turn their backs on them, my heart can't take it. I already feel my life wasn't equal when I was growing up. Luckily for me, I never lived in a world with lack of inequality was life or death,

"The ICC have told me that I can't wear my shoes on the field because they believe it's a political statement under their guidelines. I don't believe it is so, it's a humanitarian appeal.

"I will respect their view and decision but I will fight it and see to get it improved. Freedom is a human right," Khawaja said in a video message on his X (formerly Twitter).

Aussies rally behind Khawaja

According to the ICC's Code of Conduct, players and team officials are not permitted to wear, display or otherwise convey messages through arm bands or other items affixed to clothing or equipment unless approved in advance by the player or team official’s board.

Aussie skipper Pat Cummins on Wednesday confirmed that Khawaja won't be wearing the controversial shoes in the Test match but he also said that the entire team is behind the 36-year-old opener in this matter.

"I spoke to him just quickly and [Khawaja] said he won't be [wearing the statements]. Uzzie doesn't want to make too big of a fuss. "I think what was on the shoes, 'all lives are equal', I support that," Cummins told reporters ahead of the first Test.

Australia and Pakistan will lock horns in a series of three Tests in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney from December 14 to January 7. This will be Pakistan's first international assignment since their league stage exit from the ICC World Cup 2023 in India last month.

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