England vs Australia, 2023 – Usman Khawaja – The Ashes series has become more crowded

The Australian opener said there are certain things his kids don’t want to hear

Andrew McClashon

At the Ashes the crowd often expressed their feelings PA Photos/Getty Images

Usman Khawaja believes abuse from the crowd against players in both England and Australia has become too much.

Khawaja clashed with MCC members at Lord’s Pavilion after Jonny Bairstow’s controversial stumping which led to the suspension of three members. However, he worries about what the kids in the arena are hearing, as insults are thrown close to the border.

The Bairstow incident sparked a strong reaction from the crowd, with Alex Carey saying some „bad things” had been said, but the players had faced plenty before that.

„Personally, if I’m coming to cricket and watching cricket, I don’t want my kids around it,” Khawaja said ahead of the Old Trafford Test. „If I saw that I would 100 per cent complain or quit. I think some things are really bad. At Edgbaston they called Travis Head a catch… you know. I don’t believe you can say that anywhere in a public domain like I can.”

England players often point to receiving similar treatment on Australian tours and Khawaja does not condone it.

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

„It’s a bit frustrating at times and I think it can be taken too far in Australia. I’m not a big fan of it. I know watching a lot of sports around the world and loving the sport. You look at the NBA. [and] It happens there. Especially when the crowd closes in on you, they can in cricket. It is what it is, and I disagree with it.”

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Khawaja would not discuss the events at Lord’s Pavilion further. „I’m going to leave it at that,” he said. „MCC is all over it. I’m sure they’ll do the right thing.”

With the Ashes and the crowd at Old Trafford in full swing, the Australians are unlikely to be quiet this week.

„Some nasty things have been said, but that’s the Ashes,” Carey said last week. „Bad things were said before that. I think we’ve got a lot of fans from Australia and England, and I don’t think we’ve created anything, but we haven’t lost anything.

„It’s an Ashes to remember, we’ve had some fantastic crowds. We love coming here, we love playing the Ashes and my first experience. [playing Test cricket] It was amazing in England.”

Andrew McClashon is Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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