Usman Khawaja, a cricketer, wears shoes that are personalized with his daughters’ names inscribed on them.

Web DeskDecember 26, 2023
Usman Khawaja, a cricketer, wears shoes that are personalized with his daughters' names inscribed on them.

Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja, aged 37, took a distinctive approach to show support for a cause close to his heart after being barred from displaying a message regarding the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

During the opening day of the second Test against Pakistan in Melbourne, Khawaja sported shoes adorned with the names of his daughters, Aisha and Ayla, on the sides. His attempt to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Gaza was previously obstructed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The ICC declined his request to display a sticker depicting a black dove holding an olive branch, citing regulations prohibiting messages related to politics, religion, or race.

This was not the first instance where Khawaja encountered ICC regulations. In a previous match, he was prevented from wearing shoes featuring handwritten slogans advocating for human rights.

Also Read: Australia’s Usman Khawaja has been denied permission to place a peace symbol on his bat

Expressing his frustration, Khawaja used social media to highlight inconsistencies and double standards in the ICC’s rulings. Although his efforts were curtailed, his dedication to human rights remains apparent.

Cricket Australia’s CEO, Nick Hockley, acknowledged Khawaja’s commitment to the cause and advocated for a non-partisan, non-religious, and apolitical approach in his application to the ICC.

While abiding by ICC rules, Hockley stressed the importance of open dialogue and cooperation in addressing sensitive issues. Khawaja’s personal connection to the Gaza conflict was evident in a recent interview where he emotionally expressed his concern for innocent children’s suffering. He highlighted the impact of witnessing distressing images and empathized by imagining his own daughter in similar circumstances.

Khawaja’s actions, both on and off the field, have sparked discussions about athlete activism and the freedom of expression. Despite ongoing debates about messaging, his unwavering dedication to his family and the cause of human rights is evident.

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