Usman Khawaja forced to remove ‘dove logo’ from bat during 1st test against New Zealand

During Day 3 of the ongoing 1st Test between Australia and New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, Australia’s opening batter Usman Khawaja faced a contentious moment when he was compelled to remove a dove logo from his bat.

The incident unfolded in the 19th over of Australia’s second innings when Khawaja called for a new bat after the one he was using had cracked. Matthew Renshaw, the 12th man, hurriedly brought over several options, from which Khawaja selected one. However, he was obliged to remove the banned dove logo from it.

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This development follows the ICC’s rejection of Khawaja’s previous request to display the dove and olive branch logo on his bat during the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan. Khawaja, 37, aimed to use the sticker to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

In a prior instance, Khawaja had planned to convey a special message on his shoes during the first Test in Perth but was cautioned by the ICC against doing so. Despite these setbacks, Khawaja did wear a black armband during the game, though he was subsequently charged by the ICC for breaching equipment regulations. The batter clarified that the armband was worn in remembrance of a personal bereavement.

Notwithstanding the ICC’s stance, Cricket Australia chief Nick Hockley and captain Pat Cummins expressed solidarity with Khawaja, affirming that his efforts to spotlight the humanitarian crisis in Gaza were not offensive. Cummins equated Khawaja’s display of the dove logo with teammate Marnus Labuschagne’s showcasing of an eagle on his bat, representing a personal religious message.