Khawaja criticizes ICC charge for first Test armband protest as ‘personal message without consent’

Usman Khawaja’s protest against the ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine during the first Test against Pakistan has been met with a reprimand from the International Cricket Council (ICC). The 37-year-old cricketer wore a black armband in support of civilians in Gaza, but the ICC deemed it a breach of their rules. Additionally, Khawaja has been sanctioned for displaying the slogans ‘All lives are equal’ and ‘Freedom is a human right’ on his shoes without prior approval and has been warned against repeating the protest in the Boxing Day Test. In response to the sanction, Khawaja expressed confusion about the punishment, citing past incidents where players displayed messages without being penalized. He explained that he wanted to address humanitarian issues with his personal messages, stating, “I respect what the ICC says, and the rules and regulations they have…I will be asking them and contesting they make it fair and equitable for everyone and they have consistency in how they officiate.” He also emphasized that his protest was not political, but a humanitarian appeal.