Australian batsman Usman Khawaja has made startling revelations about the racism that he faced during his formative years after he and his family moved to Australia in the 1990s.
Notably, Khwaja’s family had migrated to Australia from Pakistan. Khawaja did face racism during his early days and was even told that he would never make it to the national team. In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, he revealed the ordeal he went through during those days.
“When I was younger in Australia, the amount of time I got told I was never going to play for Australia, I’m not the right skin colour was immense. I’d get told I don’t fit the team and they wouldn’t pick me. That was the mentality, but now it’s starting to shift,” Khawaja told ESPNcricinfo.com
The top-order batter became the first Muslim and the first player of Pakistani descent to represent Australia. Khawaja has often spoken about the challenges he has faced in his quest to play top-level cricket in Australia.
Khawaja further revealed that when he started playing for his adopted nation, not only his family but people from the subcontinent heritage started supporting Australia.
“When I started being more involved in cricket, people with subcontinent heritage in Australia came up to me and said, “we’re so happy to see you at the top. Seeing someone like you, we feel we’ve got a part in the Australian team, and we support the Australian team. We didn’t do it before, and we do it now,” said Khawaja.
The Islamabad-born even admitted that he didn’t support Australia (in cricket) in the beginning as he didn’t quite connect with the team then. It took him time to adapt before he could leave his background behind and be what he is at present.
“And that kept happening over and over and over again. The more that happened, I realised my background does matter, and it does make a difference. And then I realised from my childhood it probably took me a while to support Australia. I didn’t really support Australia when I first went [from Pakistan] because I didn’t really get it,” he added.