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Usman Khawaja details racism in Australian cricket, calls for change



Left-handed batsman Usman Khawaja, along with fellow countryman Dan Christian, has raised the issue of persistent racism issues in Australian cricket. Khawaja was born in Pakistan, but moved to Australia with his family when he was five. The 33-year-old cricketer is a key figure in Australia’s top league, with 93 international matches (44 Tests, 40ODIs and 9 T20Is) played since debuting in the game’s longest format in January 2011.

The left-handed batsman revealed that he perceives him as a “lazy” cricketer because of his ethnicity.

“ I always had that ‘lazy’ undertone growing up and I think part of it was my relaxed nature, but part of it was also because I was Pakistani, and people on the subcontinent were seen as lazy, not preoccupied with the hard yards and all, ‘ quoted Khawaja.

“Running has never been natural to me, so when we did a lot of fitness tests, I wasn’t as good as the rest. If you compare that to where I came from, it played against me. I like to think that we start from there. to go, but there’s definitely still that undertone… I still hear (similar stereotypes), if someone’s a little bit different, ”he added.

Khawaja, who has spent 10 international centuries to his name, will join the Cricket Australia (CA) working group charged with drafting an action plan aimed at inclusion and greater cultural diversity within Australian cricket.

“The older I’ve gotten, the more I realized that when it comes to diversity – especially in cricket in general – I think we’ve done well, but we’re still not quite there,” Khawaja said.

“If you look at the landscape in terms of multicultural cricketers, then we have a few subcontinental cricketers – myself, Gurinder (Sandhu), Arjun Nair, Jason Sangha and Tanveer Sangha come through the ranks … (but) we have one more long way to go, ”he added.

Khawaja wants Australian cricket to produce more role models that can be viewed by children from different ethnic backgrounds.

“If you come from a subcontinental family – all of Asia, really – studying is very important. My mom wanted me to stop playing cricket and study, and that happens a lot with boys my age who come through the ranks,” he said. .

“Overall, with the subcontinent community, I know how important that is to moms and dads, so we have to stress that, especially with technology nowadays and remote study, there’s no reason you can’t do both, as long as you have the discipline and you are willing to make many sacrifices along the way, Khawaja added.

“Kids need support, we need to speak openly and let them know that, ‘Hey, you’re not the only one going through this, we’ve been through this, we’ve seen this, we’ve been through it, and we’ve moved on. You can do the same thing. , ”he continued.


Last week, Cricket Australia had launched an investigation after it was revealed that Christian was exposed to racist remarks when speaking about the casual racism he has experienced in Australian cricket.

“There is also the problem that people get discouraged when they are racially maligned when they get through the ranks. The number of times I heard, ‘They won’t choose you,’ ‘You don’t fit in’ – if enough people oppose it. keep telling you, could you really start believing it, ”he went on to explain.

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