Australia’s Khawaja enters row over beer logo

Australian batsman Usman Khawaja may follow fellow Muslim Fawad Ahmed and refuse to wear a uniform with a beer brand logo, but admits that cementing his Test place comes first.

Khawaja, the first Muslim to wear the baggy green, told The Sydney Morning Herald he had considered whether it was possible to wear a uniform which did not have the logo of Cricket Australia’s key sponsor the VB brewery.

“I understand what Fawad is doing, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it,” Khawaja told the newspaper.

“I thought about it for this Ashes campaign. But I probably haven’t been in the Australian team for long enough to worry about it too much.”

Khawaja, 26, struggled in the Ashes series in England earlier this year and remains on the fringes of the Test team.

Leg spinner Ahmed was exempted from wearing the VB logo in England after he explained that it clashed with his Islamic faith — a move which sparked a row and criticism that he should not accept sponsorship money from companies promoting alcohol.

Khawaja said he had discussed the matter with South African batsman Hashim Amla, who has been exempted from wearing a brewery’s logo, about how he could reconcile with his strongly-held Muslim beliefs.

“He just said to me he doesn’t accept prize money from whoever their alcoholic sponsor is,” Khawaja said.

“I assume if I ever did do it, that’s the path I’d lead. But at the moment it’s all about the cricket for me.”

Pakistan-born Khawaja said Carlton and United Breweries, makers of VB beer, were a “massive sponsor for Cricket Australia so obviously there needs to be some give and take there” and he was willing to forgo some money if need be.

The left-hander signed Tuesday with Sydney Thunder for the next two seasons of the domestic Twenty20 competition, a move which will see him join Test captain Michael Clarke, David Warner and veteran Mike Hussey.