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’ of peace in the first Test amid the war in Gaza – and says the rest of the team supports him too.

Khawaja, a proud Muslim, revealed plans to wear shoes bearing 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 has told Khawaja to ‘uphold’ their rules on banning the display of personal messages.

‘We support the right of our players to express personal opinions,’ a Cricket Australia statement said.

‘But the ICC has rules in place which prohibit the display of personal messages which we expect the players to uphold.’

Travis Head has given his full backing to Usman Khawaja in the star batter’s bid 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 with the slogan ‘Freedom is a human right’

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

‘We stand with Usman Khawaja! All lives are Equal,’ he wrote on X.

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

‘You’re a legend Travis – thank you!’ wrote one fan.

‘These look like the values Australia should aspire to. It’s disgusting that common decency is being denigrated,’ said another.

‘Standing on the side of humanity and your team mate. Well done,’ replied a third.

A smaller contingent of supporters weren’t on board with Head’s statement.

‘All lives are equal. Walk out with a Star of David on your shoes then,’ wrote one user.

 ‘You should go and play in Palestine, Iran, Pakistan then,’ wrote another.

‘But only Palestinian colours on his shoes tells you what he really means,’ said a third.

Khawaja’s controversial act has split opinions in the sporting world with former Aussie all-rounder Simon O’Donnell condemning the silent protest.

‘I fully respect Usman Khawaja’s beliefs personally … he should be able to state his beliefs on his own platform,’ he told SEN.

‘But while he’s representing Australia he has no right, nil, zero, to bring his personal beliefs and instill those onto others.’

Ex-Australian paceman Rodney Hogg had a similar viewpoint to O’Donnell

‘We the public of Australia want to see our players playing for Australia and not making political statements,’ Hogg wrote in a statement on his Facebook account.

‘Cricket Australia review their contracts otherwise they will turn supporters away from the game.’

Khawaja says he will fight the ban on his bid to share a 'humanitarian message'

Khawaja says he will fight the ban on his bid to share a ‘humanitarian message’

The 36-year-old says he is not political and he is not taking sides in the conflict

The 36-year-old says he is not political and he is not taking sides in the conflict

Khawaja has since taken to social media to respond to CA’s stance, insisting he will try to gain approval to wear the shoes.

‘I’ve noticed what I’ve written on my shoes has caused a little bit of a stir. I won’t say much, I don’t need to,’ he said.

‘But what I do want is for everyone who did get offended, somehow, is to ask yourself these questions.

‘Is freedom not for everyone? Are all lives not equal? To me personally, it doesn’t matter what race, religion or culture you are.

‘Let’s be honest about it. If me saying all lives are equal as a resulted people being offended, to the point where they’re calling me up, and telling me, well isn’t that the bigger problem?

‘These people obviously don’t believe in what I’ve written. It’s not just a handful of people. You’d be shocked about how many feel this way.

‘What I’ve written on my shoes isn’t political. I’m not taking sides. Human life to me is equal. One Jewish life is equal to one Muslim life is equal to one Hindu life and so on. I’m just speaking up for those who don’t have a voice.

‘This is close to my heart. When I see thousands of innocent children dying, without any repercussions, or remorse I imagined my two girls. What if this was them?

‘No one chooses where they’re born. And then I see the world turn their backs on them. My heart can’t take it.

‘I already feel my life wasn’t equal to others when I was growing up. But luckily for me, I never lived in a world where that lack of equality was life or death.

‘The ICC have told me that I can’t wear my shoes on field because they believe it’s a political statement under their guidelines. I don’t believe it is so – it’s a humanitarian appeal.

‘I will respect their view and decision but I will fight it and seek to gain approval.

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