Usman Khawaja criticises England & NZ withdrawals from Pakistan tours

Australia batter Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja was born in Pakistan and became the first Muslim to play Test cricket for Australia when he made his debut against England in 2011

Australia batter Usman Khawaja has criticised England and New Zealand for pulling out of their tours to Pakistan.

The Pakistan-born player added that he believes such decisions would not have been taken if the tours were to India.

New Zealand’s men pulled out because of a “security alert”, while England withdrew their men’s and women’s teams on the grounds of player welfare.

“I feel it’s very easy for players and organisations to say no to Pakistan, because it’s Pakistan,” said Khawaja.

“I think the same thing would apply too if it were Bangladesh.

“But nobody would say no to India, if they’re in the same situation. Money talks, we all know that, and that’s probably a big part of it.”

Australia are scheduled to travel to Pakistan early next year and Khawaja says he would not have a problem touring the country, where he lived until the age of five.

“There’s a lot of security. Heavy, heavy security,” he said. “I’ve heard nothing but reports about people feeling safe.”

No international cricket was played in Pakistan for six years following an attack on the Sri Lanka team by gunmen in 2009, with Pakistan holding the majority of their home matches in the United Arab Emirates.

Touring teams began to return in 2015 and Pakistan hosted their first home men’s Test for 12 years against Sri Lanka in 2019.

England players have taken part in Pakistan Super League games in Pakistan and the South Africa men’s team toured earlier this year.

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