Usman Khawaja shows disappointment at Cricket Australia’s approach of not playing bilateral series with Afghanistan

Jun 26, 2024

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Usman Khawaja, a prominent opener for the Australian Test cricket team, has recently voiced his displeasure with Cricket Australia’s (CA) decision not to engage in bilateral series with Afghanistan. Khawaja’s remarks have brought renewed attention to the intersection of sports and international politics, as well as the future of cricketing relations between Australia and Afghanistan.

Cricket Australia’s stance

The Aussie cricketing body has justified their stance by highlighting human rights issues in Afghanistan, particularly the treatment of women and girls under the Taliban regime. Since the Taliban’s return to power in 2021, there have been significant restrictions on women’s participation in sports and education. CA believes that by refusing to play bilateral matches, they can exert pressure on the Taliban to improve the human rights situation.

Usman Khawaja acknowledges Afghanistan’s success

Khawaja gave a glimpse of his sportsmanship by applauding the Afghan cricket team following their significant victory over Australia in the Super 8 stage of the T20 World Cup 2024. This win, the most significant in Afghanistan’s cricket history, showcased their talent and perseverance. Khawaja acknowledged their achievement and hard work, emphasizing the quality of their performance against one of the leading cricket nations and expressed disappointment at CA’s decision.

“Well done Brother. Better team on the day. You boys are an inspiration for so many back home and abroad. So sad we can’t see you all play in Australia,” Khawaja wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Well done Brother. Better team on the day. You boys are an inspiration for so many back home and abroad. So sad we can’t see you all play in Australia.

— Usman Khawaja (@Uz_Khawaja) June 23, 2024

Also WATCH: Afghanistan players lift Rashid Khan, coach Jonathan Trott carry Rahmanullah Gurbaz on shoulders after reaching the semifinals

Advocacy for playing the bilateral cricket with Afghanistan

In a recent interview, Khawaja advocated for Australia to play cricket with Afghanistan. While he respected Cricket Australia’s concerns about women’s rights in Afghanistan, he stressed the importance of promoting and nurturing the sport.
“I personally think yes we should be playing Afghanistan. I am sympathetic to both sides of the puzzle. I totally respect and agree with a lot of aspects of the stance Cricket Australia has in terms of women’s cricket in Afghanistan, but there’s also another side to it, of promoting and growing the game,” Khawaja told Nine Newspapers in Melbourne.

Khawaja also pointed out the disappointment among Afghan players and fans, noting that cricket is a significant source of joy in Afghanistan. He argued that the Afghan people should not be penalized for their government’s actions.

“This is the second time Australia have backed out of a bilateral series, and I talked to Rashid Khan. He was really disappointed, more so because the Afghanistan people love cricket, and for them cricket is one of the few things they enjoy and brings happiness, and the fact they were going to play Australia was going to be huge, and they don’t get to see that now. So it actually hurts the people, and the people are separate from the government,” he added.

Also WATCH: Naveen-ul-Haq mocks Gulbadin Naib over injury drama against Bangladesh; Afghanistan pacer responds | T20 WC 2024

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