In the lead-up to the Australia-Pakistan Test, Usman Khawaja has stirred controversy with a bold statement on his cricket shoes. His message, “All lives are equal” and “Freedom is a human right,” drew the attention of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The ICC, citing regulations against personal messages, addressed Khawaja’s move, prompting Cricket Australia to stand by the player’s right to express personal opinions, despite conflicting with ICC guidelines.
Amid the ensuing online debate, Khawaja released a video expressing his defiance against the ICC’s directive, explaining that he was asked not to wear the shoes bearing these messages on the field, deemed as a political statement.
All Lives are Equal. Freedom is a Human right. I'm raising my voice for human rights. For a humanitarian appeal. If you see it any other way. That's on you… pic.twitter.com/8eaPnBfUEb
— Usman Khawaja (@Uz_Khawaja) December 13, 2023
A noteworthy development unfolded when Australian skipper Pat Cummins confirmed that Khawaja would not be allowed to wear shoes bearing Gaza slogans in support of Palestinians during the match.
Support for human rights causes extended beyond Khawaja, with Pakistani cricketer Muhammad Rizwan voicing solidarity for the oppressed and martyrs of Palestine. However, the ICC responded by stating that Rizwan’s tweet about Gaza, following Pakistan’s win against Sri Lanka, falls beyond its jurisdiction.