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Usman Khawaja forced to remove ‘dove’ sticker on bat

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Australia opener Usman Khawaja was made to remove the dove sticker, which symbolises world peace, on his bat during the third day of the ongoing first Test against host New Zealand.

The incident took place in the 19th over of Australia’s second innings. Usman Khawaja, who has been a vocal critic of the Israel-Palestine conflict, batter broke his blade and asked for its replacement.

After going through different bats, he picked one and it had the “dove” logo on it. The officials stepped in and asked the cricketer to remove it.

It is pertinent to mention that the opening batter wanted to wear shoes emblazoned with the hand-written slogans “Freedom is a human right” and “All lives are equal” in the first Test of the three-match series against Pakistan in December.

But he was told that it flouted International Cricket Council (ICC) rules on messages that relate to politics, religion or race.

When Cricket Australia (CA) expressed their hopes that the opener would uphold the rules, Usman Khawaja covered the slogans with a semi-transparent tape.

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However, the words written on his shoes remained partially visible — only in close-up — in the colour of the Palestinian flag.

Later, Khawaja donned a black armband to show solidarity with Palestine.

But he was still charged by the apex cricketing body for staging a muted protest against the ongoing war in Palestine.

Usman Khawaja vowed to fight the ban on his footwear, calling it “a humanitarian appeal”.

He doubled down on his stance just before going in to bat in the first Test.

“I just think that so much has happened in the past that sets a precedent,” Khawaja told Fox Cricket.

“Other guys that have religious things on their equipment, under the ICC guidelines that’s not technically allowed, but the ICC never says anything on that,” he added.

Australian captain Pat Cummins said he was “really proud” of his teammate and of other squad members who had spoken up for what they believe in.

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