Usman Khawaja’s peace bat breaks four balls into BBL sticker protest

Usman Khawaja made his point to the world with the dove of peace on his bat even if the blade only lasted four balls before a fracture forced him to replace it at the Gabba.

The Australian opener’s month-long mission to make a visual statement in a match about the loss of innocent young lives in the Gaza-Israel conflict finally arrived as a Brisbane Heat batter.

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Cricket Australia and the Big Bash gave him the platform he was denied at Test level by the International Cricket Council when he strode out to open against the Perth Scorchers on Wednesday night.

A subtle dove sticker, on the back of a bat already heavy with logos, plus doves on his pair of boots were symbols the ICC banned him from showing during the recent Australia-Pakistan Test series.

But the display didn’t last too long as Khawaja looked to force the pace after winning the toss and choosing to bat.

After smashing the second ball down the ground for four off Jhye Richardson, Khawaja went back and pulled the third ball through deep mid-wicket.

However, Khawaja, who had been using the bat for Sheffield Shield cricket, said he realised something was wrong with the second four.

“I think I actually broke it with the first four, I think I hit the next four with a broken bat,” Khawaja said on Fox Sports.

“I said to Munners (Colin Munro) ‘I swore I hit that better’. He said ‘yeah, I thought you did too’.

“Then I looked down and realised what had happened. I had no idea, but it made sense — I just thought I was shanking them.”

While the dove bat was traded out for a fresh blade, it paid off with a four from the first ball, taking 13 from the first over.

But his stay was short lived when he mistimed a slower ball of Jason Behrendorff to short extra cover for 14 off eight balls.

Speaking on-field after switching over the bats on Channel 7, Khawaja said he was planning to take just one bat, until his wife set him straight.

Khawaja has spoken powerfully of the emotional impact, as a father-of-two, watching the carnage taking the lives of children and babies in the Gaza-Israel conflict.

Last month, he wore shoes with the slogans “All Lives Are Equal” and “Freedom Is A Human Right” at training before the First Test against Pakistan before being told he could not repeat the message on field in Perth.

The Big Bash is not just screened in Australia but in other parts of the cricketing world so his aim was achieved just by walking to the crease.

While Khawaja’s one BBL innings of the season was a short one, his teammates came to the rescue, in particular Michael Neser, setting a massive 6/191 off their 20 overs.

Marnus Labuschagne hit 45 off 33, but after falling to 5/91 off 12.1 overs, Neser and Sam Billings teed off in an 80-run partnership in 41 balls.

Billings finished with 37 off 21 before he was bowled by Richardson, while Neser was not out for 64 off just 30 balls, having slammed three sixes and seven fours.

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