Cricket NewsAustralia opener Usman Khawaja Remembers Difficult Time after Ton against India

    Australia opener Usman Khawaja Remembers Difficult Time after Ton against India


    Usman Khawaja, the opening batsman for Australia, is unsure if he actually “smiled” after reaching a very unique Test century on Indian soil. Having carried the drinks on his previous visits to India in 2013 and 2017, it is a feat he never imagined achieving. Australia’s finest batter on this tour, Khawaja, batted for six hours to stifle a strong attack on Thursday, scoring an unbroken 104 out of the team’s 255 for four. “I don’t think I have ever smiled so much on getting a century, there was emotion in it. I have done two (Test) tours of India before (2013 and 2017). Carried the drinks for eight Test matches before I got a chance here,” you could feel the pain and joy in his words.

    The 36-year-old lost a lot of time when Cricket Australia tried out mediocre openers like Marcus North and Chris Rogers. “Throughout the middle of my career, I got told I couldn’t play spin and that’s why I never got an opportunity to play in India. It’s just nice to go out there and tick off a hundred in India which was something you asked me five years ago if you told me that I would think you were crazy,” Khawaja doesn’t let you miss the point as to what it meant for him.

    “There was a lot of emotion, I just never expected this to happen,” the Islamabad-born, Queensland-raised cricketer, said. So did he agree with that perception in Australian cricket that he couldn’t play spin” “Maybe to some extent. But think it was a self-fulfilling prophecy in its own way. People start saying that then perception is reality. Anytime I got out to spin, people were like ‘you can’t play spin’. I probably started believing it myself,” he said.

    Khawaja lamented how the cricketing ecosystem Down Under never had his back in the early days of his career. “I didn’t really get support from the people around me at the time. I didn’t feel like the team really supported me. I didn’t feel like the coaching staff and selectors really supported me through that journey. It just made it so hard,” he was blunt.

    “Whether I was or wasn’t, yes I’m a better player of spin now, no doubt about that, I have more shots, better defense. But I didn’t really get the opportunity to learn at that early stage.” So how did he turn the tables? “Fortunately enough, I am quite stubborn so went out of my own way to learn, then we had a couple of A tours here in India which helped a lot. Had to go back and figure it out all by myself.”


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