Pat Cummins, Captain of the Australian cricket team, led his team to a 4-0 victory over England in the Ashes on Sunday but his leadership skills weren’t just confined to the main game.
After securing their win, the team headed to the centre stage to celebrate and it wasn’t until a few bottles of champagne had been popped that Cummins realised a member of his team was missing. Usman Khawaja, the first Muslim to be selected for the Aussie team, stood to the side amid the euphoric celebrations in order to avoid being sprayed with alcohol. However, it didn’t take long for the captain, as well as other team members like Marnus Labuschagne, to tell everyone to put the bubbly away so that the entire team could honour their success together.
From the middle, Cummins signalled Khawaja to come and join him and with their arms around each other, the entire team posed for the ultimate celebration shots.
Later, when asked about the situation, the Aussie captain told reporters: “Usman is obviously Muslim, so he doesn’t like the champagne being thrown… [so] I just made sure he got up there and [it] wasn’t thrown.”
Within hours, footage of the gesture was re-shared all over social media, with many Muslims chiming in to show their appreciation for the move.
Some may think this gesture is too insignificant to be acknowledged, but it’s not. Seeing a leader be aware of the circumstances that may affect his team is so refreshing, especially on such a global, mainstream stage.
The news comes after Khawaja smashed a hundred in each innings of the fourth match in Sydney batting in the middle order. Opening the innings in Hobart, the left-hander scored six and 11 but still finished as the fifth-highest scorer in the five-match series.
He was part of a Cricket Australia working group aimed at increasing diversity in the game.