“Inside my head, I wanted Cummins to get off the strike” – Usman Khawaja on wanting to reach his century

Khawaja celebrates his century as Cummins looks on.
Khawaja celebrates his century as Cummins looks on.

Veteran Australian batter Usman Khawaja made a brilliant century on his comeback against arch-rivals England. The batter scored a brilliant 137 from 260 deliveries and was pleased with his performance.

For a brief period of time, Khawaja was stranded at the crease on 99 as his skipper Pat Cummins was on strike. Being off strike while just one run away from his century, produced butterflies in the player's stomach.

Usman Khawaja on breaking out the @KingJames 'Silencer' celebration after his Test century .... and why it wasn't just people in the crowd booing Pat Cummins as he hogged the strike! #Ashes | @alintaenergy

During the post-match media interaction, Khawaja gave fans an insight into the conversation he had with Pat Cummins while batting. He said:

“I didn’t ask him [Cummins] for the strike. The only thing I said to him was when he took a single off the last ball of Malan’s over which was the second last over before tea. I was like, 'Patty what are you doing? You’re killing me.'"

The SCG crowd responded with a wave of boos after Cummins took the crease. However, in the next over, which was bowled by Jack Leach, Cummins punched one wide of cover for a quick single. Khawaja explained what was going through his mind in the moment and said:

“The crowd was booing him, and in my head, I was blowing him too. I was like, 'Get off strike, get me on strike, I don’t want to be on 99 for 20 minutes.'”

He added:

“I liked when he manufactured a little one for me there so I’m very grateful. It’s never nice being on 99 for too long, especially when you have not had a test hundred for a while.”

"I understand the process and expect to be dropped" – Usman Khawaja on future opportunities

Usman Khawaja was not originally drafted into the squad for the Ashes. He was brought in as a replacement during the last hour as Travis Head contracted COVID-19.

Despite Khawaja's brilliant performance with the bat in the first innings, he could be dropped in the upcoming match as Head recovers from illness.

Usman Khawaja has scored more runs in this Ashes series than Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Haseeb Hameed, Rory Burns, Jonny Bairstow and Ollie Pope.#ashes

Talking about this, Khawaja said:

“I knew it was sort of just one game for the series. Heady will be back for the next game and I’m replacing him so...”

He also drew a parallel with the time Shaun Marsh replaced him due to an injury and added:

“A similar thing happened to me once. I scored a couple of hundreds [and was injured]. Marsh scored a hundred but was dropped in the next game for me. I understand the process and I expect to be dropped.”

Khawaja, however, is happy that he was able to contribute in such an emphatic manner when his team needed him. He said:

“I wasn’t thinking hundred. I just wanted to contribute. I was like, 'Let’s see if we can contribute to a win here,' and that’s all you are backing the team for. Hopefully, I have contributed to a win coming out.”

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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