One of our journalists headed his article on young Usman’s elevation to the peerage with the remark “First Muslim to represent Australia”.
He received blunt answers from all but one of the on-line commentators, which were all along the lines of “He’s an Aussie, he plays good cricket, who cares about his religion?” They went on to observe that journos don’t mention the faith of other team members, so why should they try and make an issue out of Usman’s? It’s a non-event.
Usman himself didn’t see it in religious terms either; he plays guitar (whoops, the Imams will have a fit), plays Playstation (likewise), and doesn’t interrupt his innings to bang his head on the pitch at regular intervals. He is a non-drinker of alcoholic beverages, but as Katich (his NSW captain) points out, that means he can act as taxi-driver when he joins the lads to go out for a night on the town. Which he does.
The journo’s efforts to stir up trouble rather backfired. Good!
Oh, the one dissenter? He observed that religion must be important, because with the weird selection policy operated by current State boards it was practically impossible for any promising new youngsters to be selected unless they fitted some arcane profile which had little to do with their proficiency at cricket! Oh, parochial politics in sport – beats religious bias every time! 😀