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Usman Khawaja makes passionate plea for ICC consistency after being charged for wearing an armband

Australia opener Usman Khawaja has asked the ICC for consistency after he was sanctioned for wearing a black armband in Australia's first Test against Pakistan in Perth.

In the days leading up to the first Test, Khawaja, who has used his social media accounts to post about the conflict in Gaza, was pictured wearing batting spikes with the words "all lives are equal" and "freedom is a human right".

The 37-year-old was intending to wear them on the field but was informed that they would contravene the ICC's ban on political statements, which covers 'non-compliant' wording or logos on playing equipment.

Instead, he chose to wear a black armband on day one, which the ICC said was a breach.

The ICC said in a statement: "Usman displayed a personal message (armband) during the first test match against Pakistan without seeking the prior approval of Cricket Australia and the ICC to display it, as required in the regulations for personal messages."

Speaking to media in Melbourne on Friday ahead of the second Test, Khawaja said the armband was for a "personal bereavement".

He told reporters: "The ICC asked me day two what (the armband) was for, I told them it was for a personal bereavement. I never ever stated it was for anything else.

"The shoes were for a different matter, I'm happy to say that, but the armband (reprimand) made no sense to me."

Khawaja said he will contest the charge but will not wear the armband during the Melbourne Boxing Day Test.

"I followed all the regulations and past precedents," he said.

"Guys have put stickers on their bats, names on their shoes, done all sorts of things in the past without ICC approval and never been reprimanded.

"I will be asking them and contesting they make it fair and equitable for everyone and they have consistency in how they officiate. That consistency hasn’t been done yet."

Khawaja added the reason he made the stance was to shine a light on humanitarian issues and what he feels "passionate and strong about".

He said: "The reason I'm doing it is because it hit me hard… when I'm looking at my Instagram, and I see kids, innocent kids, videos of them dying, that's what's hit me the hardest.

"I just imagined my young daughter… I get emotional talking about it right now. For me, that's the reason I'm doing this. I don't have any hidden agendas."

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Nick Hockley said the organisation has, in consultation with Khawaja, proposed to the ICC an alternative way he can express his support for humanitarian issues.

Hockley said: "The ICC has rules in place for very good reason and we expect our players to follow and comply with those regulations.

"The work that we've been doing since is to see if there's a really respectful way that is very much unifying, that brings people together, to allow Uzzie to really share his message.

"That's the subject now of ICC consideration… we'll wait to see the outcome of those before going any further."

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