The image was approved by the Cricket Australia board prior to the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan, but despite Khawaja’s submission to the ICC the governing body denied him permission to use it during the game. The ICC has no oversight on the BBL as it is a domestic tournament.
The symbol was on the back of his bat that he started the innings with, but he broke it in the first over and the replacement did not show it.
Khawaja had initially wanted to take the field in the Perth Test with humanitarian messages raising awareness of the Gaza conflict on his shoes but that was stopped by ICC.
He then wore a black armband, which was understood to relate to his social media posts on the humanitarian crisis, but before the Melbourne Test Khawaja said it had been for a personal bereavement.
The logo on Khawaja’s shoes and bat also references 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.”
Khawaja previously said he did not believe the ICC had been consistent in applying regulations.
“They asked me on day two [in Perth] what it was for and told them it was for a personal bereavement,” he said of the armband. “I never ever stated it was for anything else. The shoes were a different matter, I’m happy to say that. The armband makes no sense to me. I followed all the regulations, past precedents, guys that put stickers on their bats, names on their shoes, done all sorts of things in the past without ICC approval and never been reprimanded.”
Khawaja has spoken openly about how affected he has been with images coming out of the conflict in Gaza.
“When I’m looking at my Instagram and seeing innocent kids, videos of them dying, passing away, that’s what hit me the hardest,” he had said. “I just imagine my young daughter in my arms and the same thing. I get emotional talking about it again. I don’t have any hidden agendas.
“If anything this brings up more negativity towards me…I don’t get anything out of this. I just feel like it’s my responsibility to speak up on this. We live in such a beautiful country. I’m blessed to live in Australia. I can walk outside, don’t have to worry about a thing. My kids can do the same. I just want that for the rest of the world.”
In a subsequent interview on Fox Cricket, he said: “I don’t do these things on a whim – this is something that has affected me for a long time. I was playing Sheffield Shield cricket before the Test series and I was really lacking motivation. I talked to my wife Rachel, I talked to our sports psychologist Brent Membery and Cricket Australia and told them I really am struggling for motivation right now.”
Khawaja had received support from Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. “I’d also like to congratulate [Usman Khawaja] for the courage he has shown standing up for human values. He has shown courage and the fact the team has backed him in is a great thing.”