After rejection over sporting dove logo, Usman Khawaja calls out ICC’s ‘double standards’

Melbourne, Dec 25 (IANS) After the International Cricket Council (ICC) rejected Usman Khawaja’s request to put a dove sticker on his bat and shoes during the upcoming Boxing Day Test against Pakistan, the veteran opener has now called out cricket’s global governing body over its ‘double standards.’

The black dove logo on Khawaja’s back of the bat on his right shoe was accompanied by a reference to article one of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “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.”

Khawaja had been cleared to sport logos of a black dove holding an olive branch by Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association in the Test starting December 26, but it was rejected by ICC, citing that the logo would lead to a breach of the clause F in the “Clothing and Equipment Regulations” in its Playing Conditions.

But on Monday, Khawaja uploaded a reel on Instagram with Kanye West’s ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ song running in the background as he pointed out “double standards” from the ICC. “Merry Christmas everybody. Sometimes you just gotta laugh. Cya on Boxing Day! #inconsistent #doublestandards,” he wrote, with a facepalm emoji, in the caption.

In the reel, Khawaja had included images of West Indies wicketkeeper-batter Nicholas Pooran putting a cross and the word “believe” on his bat, as well as of his teammate, top-order batter Marnus Labuschagne sporting an eagle logo and bible verse on his bat. It was followed by South Africa’s left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj sporting an ‘om’ logo on the front of his bat, just below the bat manufacturer sticker.

Khawaja had previously been stopped from wearing the slogans “All lives are equal” and “Freedom is a human right” on his shoes during Australia’s first Test against Pakistan at Perth, in an attempt to raise awareness about the Gaza humanitarian crisis. He did wear a black armband during the match but was reprimanded by the ICC for doing so.

On Monday, Australia Test captain Pat Cummins backed opener Usman Khawaja’s stance over sporting the dove logo. “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 are 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.”

“I’ve spoken to Uzzy a fair bit. I won’t go into too (much into its) depth, but it’s really similar to what he’s said publicly. He just sees all lives as equal. He sees the war there as a waste, and there’s a lot of loss that he’s trying to shine a light on that he thinks isn’t necessary. We support him,” he said.

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