It is evident that Usman Khawaja has not bogged down due to his exclusion from the Australian Test squad, as he declared that he still has plenty to offer at the highest level of Cricket.
Khawaja, who has not made an appearance in whites for Australia since the Ashes last year, found out last week that he was left off the list of 20 men’s players handed national contracts by Cricket Australia, which was, in a way, a message to him from the selectors that he was a long way back in their plans for the upcoming year.
Khawaja was also dropped from the Australian One Day squad after playing a key role in the last year’s World Cup, scoring 316 runs in 9 matches, including half centuries against Bangladesh and New Zealand, and was omitted from the side that lost the ODI series in India and South Africa this year.
Khawaja told Fox Sports, “Age is just a number and if you’re performing, you’re performing. It’s not like I’m 37 or 38 and coming into right at the end of my career.”
Khawaja’s technique against spin bowlers and athleticism on the field have been under scrutiny. About the issues against spin, Khawaja boldly claimed, “Without sounding arrogant, I still feel like I’m one of the top six batsmen in the country. My playing against spin has been right up there as some of the best in the county. Bar maybe Steve Smith, who is an absolute genius. But the most important thing is to score runs.”
The emergence of Marnus Labuschagne and the return from Steve Smith meant that Khawaja had to sit out in the latter part of the Ashes Series last year, and since them, he hasn’t made the cut to the playing XI.
Khawaja worked a lot on his fitness right before the Cape Town scandal took place, that saw him become the most experienced player in the Test side, shedding 7kg to become lighter, faster and stronger.
Later that year, he played one of the most important knocks of his life with an epic fourth-innings century of 141 in the Dubai Test against Pakistan, batting 302 balls across the fourth and fifth days to help his team secure a draw.
Although, this was not the first instance where Khawaja has been omitted from the national squad for a length of time. He was out of the squad for most of the year of 2017.
“I’ve been through it all, I’ve seen a lot of different coaches, and I’ve been in and out of the team a lot, especially in my younger years. I’ve learnt to just realise there are some things you can’t control.” Khawaja was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au back in 2018.
“This is the first time I haven’t really given a crap about what anyone else thinks, I’m doing this for myself, trying to be the best version of myself, and I’ve been enjoying it,” he said.