Marnus Labuschagne caught in storm as Usman Khawaja hit with ban for Boxing Day Test

The ICC has blocked Khawaja's latest move, but a telling detail about his teammate has been called out.

Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja.
Marnus Labuschagne has been dragged into the storm around Usman Khawaja. Image: Getty/AAP

Aussie cricket captain Pat Cummins has gone in to bat for Usman Khawaja and criticised the ICC's latest move against the veteran batter. Khawaja has been blocked by the ICC from displaying a dove symbol on his bat and shoes for the Boxing Day Test, after he was hit with a reprimand for wearing a black armband in the first Test against Pakistan.

Khawaja was barred by the ICC from wearing shoes that had the words 'all live are equal' and 'freedom is a human right' on them for the first Test in Perth. He was then sanctioned by the governing body because he didn't get approval before wearing a black armband on the first day of the match.

HUGE NEWS: Cricket world erupts over Mike Hussey announcement

'TWO IN A RELATIONSHIP': Mitchell Starc's family move cost him $10m

Players must seek approval from the ICC before wearing a black armband, which Khawaja didn't. He later said it was for "personal bereavement" as opposed to anything else that is going on in the world right now.

Usman Khawaja.
Usman Khawaja has been blocked by the ICC from displaying a dove symbol. Image: Getty

The saga took another twist over the weekend when it came to light that the ICC has also banned Khawaja from displaying the international symbol for peace on his gear during the second Test at the MCG. The 37-year-old had a sticker of a dove on his shoes and bat during a practice session in Melbourne, but the ICC has deemed that to also be a contravention of rules barring players from displaying personal messages in relation to politics, race or religion.

Discussing the situation on Monday, Cummins described the dove symbol as "pretty vanilla" and said it was "not really" any different to the sticker of an eagle that Marnus Labuschagne has on his bat. Labuschagne is Christian and the eagle represents a bible verse that is significant to him.

Marnus Labuschagne.
Marnus Labuschagne has an eagle sticker on his bat. Image: Getty

"We really support Uzzy. He's standing up for what he believes and I think he's done it really respectfully," Cummins said. "(His initial message was) 'all lives are equal' and I don't think that's very offensive, and I'd say the same about the dove.

"That's Uzzy. I think he can really hold his head high with the way he's gone about it. But obviously there's rules in place and I believe the ICC have said they're not going to approve that. They make up the rules and you've got to accept it."

David Warner also took to X (formerly Twitter) to highlight the detail about Labuschagne. "This is a joke considering another teammate has a religious sticker on his bat," Warner wrote. "And so does a West Indian cricket player without approval for the same governing body."

Usman Khawaja, pictured here with his daughter on Christmas Day at the MCG.
Usman Khawaja with his daughter on Christmas Day at the MCG. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

Usman Khawaja highlights ICC's double standards

Khawaja was wearing plain black shoes on Christmas Day and was greeted warmly by members of the Pakistan team as players from both sides went through light training sessions indoors at the MCG. He later took to social media to expose the ICC's glaring hypocrisy, posting a number of photos of players displaying religious symbols during games.

“Merry Christmas everybody," he wrote. "Sometimes you just gotta laugh. Cya at Boxing Day! #inconsistent #doublestandards."

Cricket world blasts ICC call on Usman Khawaja stance

West Indian legend Michael Holding also took aim at the ICC on Monday, pointing out how 'Black Lives Matter' protests have been allowed in recent years. “I have been following the Khawaja fiasco and I cannot say I’m surprised by the ICC’s stance,” Holding told The Australian.

“If it had been most other organisations that showed some semblance of consistency with their attitude and behaviour on issues I could claim surprise, but not them. Once again, they show their hypocrisy and lack of moral standing as an organisation.

“The ICC regulations say re messaging ‘approval shall not be granted for messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes’. So how the f*** people were allowed to take the knee for BLM and stumps were covered with LGBTQ colours?”

Fans and commentators have also savaged the ICC on social media. Khawaja has received overwhelming support for trying to take a stand.

Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.