Travis Head backs Usman Khawaja to the hilt after star was banned from wearing pro-Palestine shoes – here’s how Aussie cricket fans reacted

World Cup hero Travis Head has backed Usman Khawaja in his bid to share a “humanitarian message” for peace in the first Test amid the Gaza war – and says the rest of the team is backing him too.

Khawaja, a proud Muslim, announced plans to wear shoes with the slogans “freedom is a human right” and “all lives matter” during Australia’s match against Pakistan in Perth on Thursday.

However, cricket’s governing body advised Khawaja to “stand by” its rules against showing private messages.

“We support our players’ right to express their personal opinions,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.

“But the ICC has rules against showing private messages, which we expect players to abide by.”

Travis Head fully supports Usman Khawaja in his quest to share a “humanitarian message” amid the war in Gaza

Travis Head fully supports Usman Khawaja in his quest to share a “humanitarian message” amid the war in Gaza

The proud Muslim wore shoes with the slogan “Freedom is a human right.”

The proud Muslim wore shoes that read “Freedom is a Human Right.”

Australian treasurer Jim Chalmers backed the Australian batsman, saying the words “all lives are equal” were not in doubt.

“I don’t think it’s a particularly controversial statement,” Dr. Chalmers said Thursday.

“Lives on one side of a conflict are worth no more or less than lives on the other side of a conflict.”

Head took to social media Wednesday night to show support for his teammate.

“We support Usman Khawaja!” All lives are equal,” he wrote on X.

Many cricket fans were impressed by the Australia Test vice-captain’s statement of solidarity and rushed to congratulate him in the replies section.

“You are a legend, Travis, thank you!” wrote one fan.

“These seem like values ​​that Australia should strive for. It’s disgusting that decency is being undermined,” said another.

“I stand on the side of humanity and my teammate. Well done,” replied a third.

A smaller group of supporters did not support Head’s statement.

“All lives are equal. Then go out with the Star of David on your shoes,” one user wrote.

“Then you should go play in Palestine, Iran, Pakistan,” wrote another.

“But only the Palestinian colors on his shoes tell you what he really means,” said a third.

Khawaja’s controversial move has divided opinion in the sporting world, with former Australian all-rounder Simon O’Donnell condemning the silent protest.

“Personally, I completely respect Usman Khawaja’s beliefs… he should be able to express his beliefs on his own platform,” he told SEN.

“But as long as he represents Australia, he has zero, zero right to bring his personal beliefs and instill them in others.”

Ex-Australian paceman Rodney Hogg shared the same view as O’Donnell.

“We, the Australian public, want our players to play for Australia, not make political statements,” Hogg wrote in a statement on Facebook.

“Cricket Australia is reviewing its contracts or they will drive fans away from the game.”

Khawaja says he will fight ban on his attempt to share 'humanitarian message'

Khawaja says he will fight ban on his attempt to share ‘humanitarian message’

The 36-year-old says he is not a politician and is not taking sides in the conflict.

The 36-year-old says he is not a politician and is not taking sides in the conflict.

Skipper Pat Cummins came out before the start of Thursday’s game to support Khawaja.

“I think they (the team) are at their best when each person can bring their individual passions and strengths to the table in this group,” he said.

“I think that’s when groups do their best work. And I love that so many of our boys are passionate about different things and feel comfortable enough to speak out about those things.”

Khawaja has since taken to social media to react to the CA’s stance, insisting that he will try to get permission to wear the shoes.

“I noticed that what I wrote on my shoes caused a bit of a stir. I won’t say much, I don’t need to,” he said.

“But what I really want is for everyone who has been offended in some way to ask themselves these questions.

“Isn’t freedom for everyone?” Aren’t all lives equal? Personally, it doesn’t matter to me what race, religion or culture you are.

“Let’s be honest about this. If I say all lives are equal and as a result people get offended to the point that they call me and tell me, isn’t that a bigger problem?

“These people clearly don’t believe what I wrote. It’s not just a handful of people. You’d be shocked how many people think this way.

“What I wrote on my shoes is not political. I don’t take sides. Human life is equal to me. One life of a Jew is equal to one life of a Muslim, equal to one life of a Hindu, and so on. I’m just speaking for those who don’t have a voice.

“This is close to my heart. When I see thousands of innocent children die without any consequences or remorse, I imagine my two girls. What if it was them?

“No one chooses where to be born. And then I see the world turn away from them. My heart can’t handle this.

“I already felt like my life was not equal to others when I was growing up. But fortunately for me, I have never lived in a world where lack of equality was a matter of life and death.

“The ICC told me I can’t wear my shoes on the field because they think it’s a political statement according to their rules. I don’t believe that this is so – this is a humanitarian call.

“I will respect their point of view and decision, but I will fight them and seek approval.

“Freedom is a human right. And all lives are equal. I will never stop believing this, whether you agree with me or not.”