"Personally think we should be playing": Australia's Usman Khawaja

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Sumana | Date 24-06-2024
Opening batter Usman Khawaja
Opening batter Usman Khawaja



Opening batter Usman Khawaja believes Australia should play a bilateral series against Afghanistan.

In March, Cricket Australia postponed their tour of men's bilateral series against Afghanistan while citing deteriorating human rights conditions in the Asian country.

As a part of ICC's Future Tours Program, Afghanistan and Australia were set to play a three-match T20 series which was slated for August this year. But CA backed out and it was the third time Australia refused to play Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the Asian country in September 2021.

After Afghanistan left Australia speechless by clinching a 21-run win in the Super 8 of the ongoing T20 World Cup, skipper Rashid Khan gave his take on the situation. Rashid wished that something could be done or there was a solution to solve the matter.

Khawaja stated that he respects Cricket Australia's stance on the matter but feels that Australia should play against Afghanistan.

"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 at an Amazon Prime event in Melbourne as quoted from ESPNcricinfo.

"This is the second time Australia 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.

Khawaja went on to give a reference to Afghanistan players who feature in the Big Bash League. Rashid has become a familiar face in the Australian league and a star for the Adelaide Strikers.

Last year, Rashid threatened to withdraw from the league due to Cricket Australia's statement but eventually made himself available. However, he missed out on the tournament due to a back injury.

"It's a little bit hypocritical too if we say no, we're not going to play Afghanistan, but then allow Afghanistan cricketers to play in the BBL. "They 100 per cent should [play], but then how do you do one and not the other?" Khawaja stated.