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Usman Khawaja says sitting on the sidelines can be very tough

Khawaja last represented Australia in January 2017 against Pakistan.


Australia Training Session
Usman Khawaja

What’s the Story?

The Islamabad-born Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja is one of the most classical left-handed batsman Australia has ever had. However, in the recent past, he has been warming the benches for the Kangaroos and quite expectedly, he vented his frustration in an interview with News Corp.

"(Proving myself) is the furthest thing from my mind, I'm not going to make it all about me and I never like playing cricket that way. It should feel like a long time (between matches), but it actually doesn't. I don't know why. It can be pretty tough (sitting on the sidelines). I'm glad it's happened now and didn't happen about eight years ago. It was frustrating at the end of India because I was there for so long. But by the time I came home it was just nice to be home, sleeping in my own bed and training back in Brisbane,” Khawaja said.

The New South Wales batsman also expressed concerns over Australia’s ability to adjust to spin-friendly conditions. "It's frustrating but it's hard because I haven't really got to play on (spinning wickets) much and even training in the nets you can only do so much. At the end of the day it's not easy for any Australian going over there because it's very uncommon for us to play in those conditions,” he added

In case you didn’t know…

Khawaja made his Test debut against England way back in January 2011. However, he has struggled to hold his spot in the Test team over the last six years.

Nevertheless, his statistics tell a completely different story.

In 23 Test matches for Australia, Khawaja has racked up a staggering 1726 runs at an average of 47.94, which includes 5 centuries and 8 half-centuries.

The Details

Usman Khawaja’s record against spin is a bit disappointing compared to what it is against the fast bowlers. n Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka last year, he averaged a dismal 13.75 and perished as many as four times to off-spinner Dilruwan Perera.

Also, Graeme Swann has picked him up five times in his career. Due to his lackluster show against spin, he didn’t get to play a single game for the Rising Pune Supergiant in the 2017 Indian Premier League.

What’s next?

The left-hander is most likely to be selected in the playing XI when Australia takes the field for its first Test against Bangladesh in Mirpur, starting on August 27.

Author’s Take

Australia aren’t renowned for producing wickets which are conducive to spin-bowling. Therefore it’s understandable that they tend to struggle against quality spin attacks. However, touring the sub-continent and playing on turning tracks helps them add to their experience.

It eventually makes them more accomplished as a batsman. Khawaja has been temperamentally solid as a batsman and a healthy run of form with the bat in Bangladesh might just turn things around for the 30-year-old Australian.

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