Khawaja plans to silence his critics with key role in bringing home urn29/04/2019 - Author: admin - Comments are closed
Stranded on the periphery: Usman Khawaja (left) wants to confirm himself as a worthy member of Australia’s top six. Photo: Brendan EspositoUsman Khawaja says he is misunderstood by some in the Cricket Australia hierarchy, admitting a casual exterior is often mistaken for a bad attitude by those who ”don’t really know me well enough”.
The 26-year-old has pinpointed the Ashes series in July and August as the battleground to finally confirm himself as a worthy member of Australia’s top six. He has been largely stranded on the periphery in the past two years, playing only six Tests since his debut in an Ashes Test in Sydney in 2011, and against England is desperate to put his days of being 12th man, a standby or an extra batsman on tour behind him.
Khawaja, based in Queensland after quitting NSW last year, is well aware of a belief held by some within Australia’s management that his attitude needs improving.
Being one of four players controversially stood down for a Test in India during that abysmal tour did not help his cause but the gifted Pakistan-born left-hander is adamant he works as hard as anyone.
”I think there has been a lot of new people in Cricket Australia and I think I get a lot of people that do say that don’t really know me well enough,” said Khawaja, who heads to England having clinched the County Championship Division 2 title for Derbyshire last year.
”I don’t think you can get to state level, or even playing for Australia for that fact, without working your arse off. I think it’s impossible. I’ve done a lot of hard work to get where I am. All I can do is go out there and prove myself on the field. All we’re thinking about right now is getting those Ashes back. I know if I can contribute to that then I can get a bit more comfortable where I am in international cricket.”
Whether it’s the laconic gait that can give an impression he is not going full tilt, at training and on the field, he is not quite sure. ”What’s going on on the exterior is not always what’s happening on the interior for me,” he said. ”I might look very calm or whatnot when I’m batting, but it’s funny because sometimes in my head things are happening a lot quicker than what’s happening on the outside. All I care about is my teammates and what Pup [captain Michael Clarke] and the coach think and they’ve never said anything of that sort.”
Speaking for the first time about being a member of the so-called Mohali Four – the players suspended for March’s third Test for not completing performance feedback on time – Khawaja explained his bitter disappointment but said he had learnt from the experience. He would likely have been recalled there, after the also dumped Shane Watson returned home for the birth of his son, but instead watched on from the naughty corner and did not play a Test all tour.
”I was training as hard as I could, as long as I could, trying to tick all the boxes, and it was unfortunate, probably miscommunication on my part, that I didn’t hand in what we had to hand in on time,” he said. ”I was disappointed, a bit frustrated, a bit angry, but … I’m just grateful to be on this Ashes tour.”
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