‘The boys have my back’: Pat Cummins’ kind gesture for Usman Khawaja wins hearts

A multicultural shift in Aussie cricket celebrations?

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Even as a one-sided Ashes wrapped up yesterday, with Australia retaining the title after a 4-0 series demolition, social media was abuzz with something else: skipper Pat Cummins halting the team’s alcohol-fuelled celebrations so that teammate Usman Khawaja could join them on the podium.

In a now-viral video, Khawaja can be seen hurrying offstage while teammates David Warner and Mitchell Starc shake the champagne bottles to pour over the team. He is quickly beckoned back by Cummins and his other teammates.

Soon after, Khawaja, the first Muslim cricketer to play for Australia, tweeted his appreciation for the gesture.

“If this video doesn’t show you that the boys have my back, I don’t know what will,” he wrote.

“They stopped their normal champagne celebrations so I could rejoin. Inclusivity in the game and our values as a sport are so important. I feel like we are trending in the right direction.”

The scene played out in clear view of the cameras, showcasing a team that respected Khawaja’s religious beliefs, as well as a player who was happy to step aside for his teammates to celebrate as they liked.

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“We’ve got a really diverse bunch of people and you want to celebrate that and you want to make sure everyone feels comfortable being themselves,” Cummins later told reporters in Hobart after the celebrations.

The Ashes marked Khawaja’s comeback to international cricket after two long years and the 35-year-old won over fans and critics alike with twin centuries in the Fourth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Notably, he became the first Australian to score twin tons in Sydney since Ricky Ponting in 2006.

Khawaja’s impressive showing even caught the eye of Aussie music legend Paul Kelly, who penned a heart-warming tribute to the cricketer.

It appears a South Asian cricketer has finally won over Australian hearts.

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