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Perception of me being a ‘lazy’ cricketer was because I was Pakistani, says Australia batsman Usman Khawaja


Australia batsman Usman Khawaja has even earlier spoken about having to deal with issues of racism while growing up in the country.

Over time, Usman Khawaja, who moved to Australia when he was five, has become the country’s most high-profile cricketer of Asian descent since he made his Test debut in 2011.

But he has said that the perception of being a cricketer from the sub-continent has associated certain tags with him, that have been difficult to shrug off in the many years that he has played for Australia.

“I always had that ‘lazy’ undertone when I was growing up and I think part of that was my relaxed nature but part of it was also because I was Pakistani, and subcontinent people were seen as lazy, not doing the hard yards and whatnot,” he told cricket.com.au.

“Running has never been natural to me, so when we used to do lots of fitness testing I wasn’t as good as everyone else. When you put that against where I was from, that did play against me.

“I like to think we’re starting to move on from that, but there’s definitely still that undertone I still hear (similar stereotypes), if someone’s a bit different, he added.

Things have changed for better over last decade, says Khawaja

Although he has admitted that over the last decade things have changed in Australian cricket, he also agreed that more needs to be done.

“The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realised that when it comes to diversity especially in cricket in general I think we’ve been OK at it but we’re still just not quite there.

“If you look at the landscape in terms of multicultural cricketers around, we’ve got a few subcontinental cricketers myself, Gurinder (Sandhu), Arjun Nair, Jason Sangha and Tanveer Sangha coming up through the ranks (but) we’ve still got a long way to go,” Khawaja said.

It is with this in mind that the Queensland skipper has decided to undertake a role adjacent to his playing responsibilities. He has joined the Cricket Australia working group tasked with creating an action plan focusing on greater cultural diversity and inclusion.

“During this time we’re living in, there are a lot of civil rights issues going on, especially in America with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“We can’t just stick our heads in the sand and say, ‘Everyone’s perfect, everything’s fine, and there’s no way for us to improve’.

“We can improve in so many different ways and this is just one of them,” the Australian added.



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