Khawaja: Crowd abuse has gone too far in the Ashes


Usman Khawaja believes abuse from the crowds towards players has gone too far – both in England and Australia.

Khawaja was involved in the confrontation with MCC members in the Lord’s pavilion after the controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow which has led to three members being suspended. However, he is equally concerned about what children in the stands are hearing as insults get hurled near the boundary.

The Bairstow incident prompted strong reaction from the crowds, with Alex Carey saying there had been some “nasty stuff” said, but players had been facing plenty even before that.

“Personally, if I am coming to the cricket and watching the cricket, I wouldn’t want my kids to be around that,” Khawaja said ahead of the Old Trafford Test. “If I saw that I would 100 percent make a complaint or just leave. I think some of the stuff can be pretty poor. Over at Edgbaston they were calling Travis Head a c… you know what. I’m like I can’t believe you can actually say that in a public domain anywhere.”

England’s players are often quick to point out that they receive similar treatment on tours of Australia and Khawaja does not condone that either.

“If you talk about it to England guys, they say we are equally as rough when [they go to Australia]. I don’t agree with it either way. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do,” Khawaja said.

“It can be a little disappointing at times, and I think we can take it too far in Australia. I’m not a big fan of it. I know watching a lot of sport and loving sport that it happens around the world. You watch the NBA [and] it happens there. Particularly when crowds can get real close to you, which they can in cricket. It is what it is, I don’t agree with it.”

Khawaja would not be drawn into further discussion about the events in the Lord’s pavilion. “I’m just going to leave it there,” he said. “MCC are all over it. I trust them to do the right thing.”

With the Ashes on the line, and Old Trafford another ground where the crowd can get boisterous, it is unlikely the Australians will be in for a quiet time this week.

“There’s some nasty stuff been said but…it is the Ashes,” Carey said last week. “There was nasty stuff said before that as well. From Australia I still think we’ve got lots of fans and from England, I don’t think we’ve made any, but we probably didn’t lose any.

“It is the Ashes we’ve got to remember, and we’ve had some amazing crowds. We love coming over here, we love playing the Ashes and my first experience [playing Test cricket] in England has been amazing.”

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