Australian cricketers are known as one of the most orthodox breeds in the sporting world. But, the thing about the victim card is that it can bring down mountains. That is exactly what has happened in Usman Khawaja’s case. It has ensured that Aussies did not celebrate victory as they were used to celebrating.
Australia thrashes England in Ashes
Recently, Pat Cummins led the Australian side imposed their rights on the Ashes trophy with a 4-0 victory on Englishmen. The last test match was a one-sided affair and ended in 3 days in favour of Australians. However, more than the Ashes urn, Captain Cummins’ post-match gesture is talk of the town now.
In Australia, victories are celebrated with champagne. Players pop up the cork and spray alcohol on each other in the spirit of celebration. Australian cricketers were doing the same. They were rejoicing with joy until Pat Cummins noticed something odd. He found that Usman Khawaja, their key man was absent from the stage.
Pat Cummins made a sweet gesture towards Khawaja
Apparently, Usman Khawaja was standing aside. Pat Cummins asked other players to put their champagnes on hold. Only after players stopped opening corks of new bottles did Usman agree to come on stage and join other Aussies in their celebration.
Pat Cummins asks his other teammates to put the drinks away and calls Usman Khawaja back over to the centre of the victory photo to celebrate.
— hs memOn🦋🇵🇰 ( kk💙🔥) (@hs_memOn008) January 17, 2022
Usman Khawaja is a Pakistan born Australian cricketer. He is a Muslim by faith, and his religious views tilt against the use of Alcohol. That is why he had decided to step aside from celebrations. Pat’s gesture drew a wide variety of praises from people on social media.
Khawaja has accused Australians of being racist towards him
In the past, Khawaja has accused the whole Australian set-up of being racist towards him. Khwaja’s family had moved to the southern hemisphere when he was five years old. In December (2021), Khwaja told abc.net.au that it was tough for him to break the existing cultural barrier between him and Australians.
He had also hinted that his going to prayers, doing Namaz and not engaging in drinking were used against him. “I was very different and that is held against you to some respect, and I saw it from time to time. I think part of it had to do with culture, part of it definitely had to do with some sort of systemic racism, and even part of it had to do some sort of bias”, said Khawaja.
Controversies related to Usman Khawaja’s wife and brother
Usman Khawaja married an Australian called Rachael McLellan. Later, Rachel, a devout Christian, embraced Islam, and Khawaja had said that she was not under any pressure to convert. In the same interview, the interviewer had asked her about criticism over Khawaja’s lazy looking approach to batting and fielding. Khawaja believes that he was criticised because he is Pakistani born.
In 2020, Khawaja’s brother Arsalan Tariq Khawaja was jailed for faking a terror plot. Arsalan was jealous of his co-worker Amer Nizamdeen’s closeness with a female friend. To take revenge, Arsalan framed him in a fake terrorism-related incident. Amer was jailed for four weeks and incorrectly labelled as a terrorist by the city administration.
Unknowingly, Pat had set a bad precedent
With so much history of Khawaja’s alleged victimization behind, it was natural for Cummins to concede space to him. However, on the other side of the coin, there is Khawaza’s brother’s fake story. It’s hard to believe that if you are getting privilege by portraying yourself as a victim, you won’t be doing it in the future.
Cummins may have done it with generosity, but it will eventually weaken the rigid Australian discipline. After all, Khawaja’s cultural norms prevailed over that of Australians, and it will also set a precedent for the future.