British journo says Khawaja's 'Asian immigrant' remark never meant to 'disparage' him

Sydney, Aug 15 (ANI): A cricket correspondent in a reputed British newspaper has denied that the comment he made about Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja is racist, saying that he made the comment without any intent to disparage Khawaja.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Scyd Berry has been criticised for his comment on Khawaja in The Telegraph, in which he wrote that Khawaja might be replaced in the Oval Ashes Test by Phillip Hughes, shelving Australia's experiment with their 'Asian immigrant' population.

Stating that he 'warmly applauded' both the sentiments and the strength of the people feeling that the comment was 'racist', Berry however, explained that his comment is an attempt to portray the unique position in which Khawaja finds himself as the first Muslim and one of the first non-whites to represent Australia.

Comparing the situation of Khawaja with Monty Panesar, Samit Patel and Ravi Bopara, who are the main Asian cricketers currently representing England, Berry also said that like the trio have been marginal players in the Test and limited-overs teams, along with controversial and 'fun' figures, Khawaja has also appeared to him as a marginal figure.

Berry further said that given Khawaja's less-than-stellar performances in his Test debut, Ashes and the tour match against Somerset, he has failed to reached anything like the ascendancy in Tests because of his 'rare quality of controlling his emotions', as prophesied by his teammate Ed Cowan.

Stating that Khawaja played six Tests in 2011 and has been a reserve batsman since, Berry also said that Khawaja himself has admitted that establishing himself as a Test batsman had been difficult for him and that he often gets stopped by security at Australian airports, simply for being non-white.

According to Berry, Khawaja was not exonerated by Australian coach Darren Lehmann from Australia's collapse in their second innings at Durham like David Warner and Chris Rogers, adding that if he is dropped from the Oval Test it will be a waste of his talent.

Berry also said that he felt that had Khawaja appeared on the scene ten years from now, he might have become Australia's first Asian captain given his qualities, adding that if more was done to help and encourage Australia's Asian population, Khawaja would not be battling all on his own

Berry also said that as his wife is an Asian immigrant, who is originally Indian and married to him for almost 30 years, he would never speak anything racist against a 'person of Asian origin'. (ANI)

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