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Usman Khawaja denied permission to have peace symbol on bat: reports

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Australia’s Usman Khawaja has been denied permission to place a peace symbol on his bat and shoes for the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan, reports said Sunday.

A sticker showing a black dove and the words 01:UDHR — a reference to Article One of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — was on his bat and shoes during training in Melbourne on Sunday.

The star batter had multiple meetings with Cricket Australia over recent days to find a message that would be appropriate for the second Test this week, local media said.

But his latest humanitarian gesture has been turned down by the International Cricket Committee, The Australian and Melbourne Age newspapers reported.

The ICC were not immediately available for comment.

Usman Khawaja, a Muslim, was stopped from wearing shoes emblazoned with the hand-written slogans “Freedom is a human right” and “All lives are equal” during the first Test in Perth.

The 36-year-old had wanted to show his support for the people of Gaza.

But he was told they flouted ICC rules on messages that relate to politics, religion or race.

Usman Khawaja donned the black armband during Australia’s 360-run victory in Perth, a move seen at the time as support for people in Gaza, where thousands have been killed.

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However, the ICC said it breached their clothing and equipment regulations.

“Usman displayed a personal message (armband) during the first Test match against Pakistan without seeking the prior approval of Cricket Australia and the ICC to display it, as required in the regulations for personal messages,” the ICC said late Thursday.

“This is a breach under the category of an ‘other breach’ and the sanction for a first offence is a reprimand.”

Khawaja said he would not wear an armband during the second Test in Melbourne next week but insisted that it was for a “personal bereavement” and vowed to contest the ruling.

“No, I’m not wearing it again. As I said to the ICC, the armband was for a personal bereavement,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

“The armband was different to my shoes. The shoes were very obvious. At the end of the day, I didn’t wear the shoes. I respected the rules and procedures and left it at that.”

He added that being reprimanded for the armband “makes no sense” and pointed to other players who had previously put stickers on their bats and names on their shoes without approval and escaped punishment, urging the ICC to be more consistent.

Khawaja spoke on Friday about how the Israel-Hamas conflict had affected him, saying he despaired at seeing how many children had been killed.

“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 said.

“I don’t have any agendas other than trying to shine a light on what I feel really passionately, really strongly about.”

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