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Usman Khawaja won’t wear shoes with Gaza messages: Pat Cummins

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Australian opening batter Usman Khawaja will not wear shoes with messages highlighting the plight of people in Gaza when the first Test against Pakistan begins on Thursday, captain Pat Cummins said.

During training this week the 36-year-old opening batsman Usman Khawaja had hand-written slogans “Freedom is a human right” and “All lives are equal” on his shoes.

The Pakistan-born Khawaja had reportedly said he would wear the shoes for the opening Test in Perth.

But Cummins told reporters on Wednesday: “I spoke to him just quickly and he said he won’t be.

“Just kind of drew attention to the ICC rules, which I don’t know if Uzzie (Khawaja) was across beforehand.

“Uzzie doesn’t want to make too big of a fuss.”

Governing body the International Cricket Council bans any messages during matches that relate to politics, religion or race.

Four days ago, Khawaja shared a video on Instagram from the children’s charity UNICEF from Gaza.

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In the post, Khawaja, who is Muslim, commented: “Do people not care about innocent humans being killed?

“Or is it the colour of their skin that makes them less important? Or the religion they practise?

“These things should be irrelevant if you truly believe that ‘we are all equal’.”

Speaking earlier Wednesday, Australian Sports Minister Anika Wells said she believed Khawaja’s shoes did not break ICC rules.

“I think he has done it in a peaceful and respectful way,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted her as saying.

Cricket Australia said in a statement that it supported “the right of our players to express personal opinions.

“But the ICC has rules in place which prohibit the display of personal messages, which we expect the players to uphold.”

In 2014 the ICC banned England all-rounder Moeen Ali from wearing wristbands saying “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine” during a home Test.

READ: Pakistan’s Playing XI for First Test against Australia unveiled

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