Monday 25 December 2023 - 21:41

ICC Criticized for Restricting Australian Cricketer's Gaza Support Gesture

Story Code : 1104896
ICC Criticized for Restricting Australian Cricketer
Australia's Usman Khawaja, ahead of a match against Pakistan, adorned his boots with the phrase "Freedom is a human right" and "All lives are equal," symbolizing support for Gaza. The ICC barred Khawaja from wearing these messages, citing their political nature under their guidelines.

Expressing his sentiments on a social media platform, Khawaja revealed the ICC's directive, lamenting their stance on his choice of footwear. The cricketer faced a reprimand from the ICC for donning a black armband, intended as a personal tribute.

Subsequently, Khawaja's attempt to depict a dove and an olive branch on his gear faced ICC opposition, citing regulations against personal messages, further illustrating a lack of approval for such displays.

The ICC spokesperson emphasized support for players advocating human rights but reiterated the prohibition of personal messages on gear during matches, suggesting alternative platforms for such expressions.

Khawaja, endorsed by Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association, expressed his respect for the ICC's regulations but advocated for fairness and consistency in their application.

Drawing parallels with past ICC decisions, the cricket fraternity raised questions about the organization's selective application of regulations, highlighting instances where political or social gestures were permitted.

Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding criticized the ICC's lack of consistency, denouncing their stance on Khawaja's gesture as hypocritical, given past allowances for similar issues.

Australian captain Pat Cummins voiced his support for Khawaja, advocating for fairness and expressing confusion over the ICC's ambiguous stance on players' expression of support for various causes.

In 2014, England all-rounder Moeen Ali was banned by the ICC from wearing wristbands featuring the slogans “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine”.

However, in 2019, Indian cricketers wore army camouflage-style caps in a match against Australia in solidarity with Indian paramilitary police killed in an attack in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The ICC also allowed players to “take the knee” before international matches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 and 2021.

The backdrop of this controversy lies in Israel's extensive military atrocities on Gaza since early October, resulting in substantial human casualties and widespread devastation in the besieged region.