Usman Khawaja has lifted the lid on Australian cricket and how he believes racial bias is still impacting the game to this day.
During an in-depth interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, he revealed he didn’t support the Australian team growing up.
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But it was Khawaja’s comments regarding the current state of cricket in the country and how despite the times changing, the game hasn’t changed with them.
He said he felt the landscape of the game lacked representation at the highest level which would be a major concern for any young player of colour.
“That’s where I’m trying to work with Cricket Australia saying, ‘Look, guys … you invest a lot of money into this, but something’s not going right. You’ve been doing it for 10 years and nothing’s changed’,” Khawaja told the publication.
Despite Australia’s unbridled success over the years, it hasn’t translated into younger generations from differing backgrounds to get behind the nation where they were born.
The 36-year-old said one of the biggest issues at Cricket Australia is having a front office that features no people of colour.
“There’s subconscious bias. If you have two cricketers, one brown, one white, both the same, the white coach is going to pick the white cricketer just because he has a son that might look similar to him. It’s what’s familiar to him,” Khawaja told the publication.
Khawaja, born in Pakistan, remains an exceptional case being one of few people of colour to have made it not just to the top but succeeded at the highest level.
In a damning reveal on social media, Khawaja revealed how despite being at the top level of cricket, he was still stopped in his tracks by security at venues around Australia.
“You get use to it. I got stopped 3 times last year at our hotel, while in Australian Kit and asked if I was with the Australian Cricket team,” Khawaja wrote.
His revelation came in response to cricket writer Bharat Sundaresan posting about being questioned over his credentials and security staff mocking him.
Khawaja has faced a rollercoaster since making his Test cricket debut back in 2011. Over the past 12 years he has been in and out of the team.
With 56 Tests under his belt and an average of 47.83, many have been left to question how he wasn’t a locked in staple with his form over the previous 12 months.
The supremely-talented opener has averaged an absurd 76.98 since being brought back into the team and he says there should have been far more times when he was called up but others were put above him in the pecking order.
“There’s been plenty of times I should’ve been picked for teams and I wasn’t,” he said.
“But it just made me have a bigger chip on my shoulder.”
Despite the ongoing struggles, Khawaja isn’t going to give up anytime soon as he hopes the sport can turn the corner.
“We’ve come a long,” he said. “But I’ll keep doing it because I want people to know what it’s like.”