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Khawaja says ‘lazy’ label result of racial stereotyping

Australian batsman Usman Khawaja has hit out at criticisms of him being a 'lazy' player, saying it is an example of racial stereotyping.

The Pakistan-born Khawaja became the first Muslim to play Test cricket for Australia when he made his debut in the summer of 2010-11, but currently finds himself on the outside looking in.

The 33-year-old is set to work a Cricket Australia group tasked with creating an action plan focused on greater cultural diversity in the game, and said Australia still has a way to go.

"I always had that 'lazy' undertone when I was growing up and I think part of that was my relaxed nature but part of it was also because I was Pakistani, and subcontinent people were seen as lazy, not doing the hard yards and whatnot," he told cricket.com.au.

"Running has never been natural to me, so when we used to do lots of fitness testing I wasn't as good as everyone else. When you put that against where I was from, that did play against me.

"I like to think we're starting to move on from that, but there's definitely still that undertone …"

Khawaja has been asked to join a Cricket Australia working group looking at increasing diversity in the game.

"When it comes to diversity … I think we've been OK at it but we're still just not quite there," he said.

"If you look at the landscape in terms of multicultural cricketers around, we've got a few subcontinental cricketers [but] we've still got a long way to go."

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