Khawaja shows glimpse of Australia's future
January 07, 2011
Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja showed in his poised Test initiation against England that he could play a leading role in the revival of Australia's cricket fortunes.
Pakistan-born Khawaja, the first Muslim to play for his adopted country, captivated a nation downcast by its national team's Ashes downfall with his accomplished knock of 37 in the final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Far from being intimidated by the occasion, Khawaja, 24, whipped six runs off his first two deliveries and defied the English attack for two hours and 95 balls to star for the transitional Australian team.
One of two debutants, Khawaja, who came to Australia when he was three, displayed his technique and confidence to make a sound impression as injured Ricky Ponting's replacement in the demanding number three batting position.
He savoured his time in the spotlight to help Australia reach 134 for four at the close of a rain-interrupted opening day.
"I had a ball out there. I just wanted to stay out there as long as I could," Khawaja said.
"It was a good start. I got all the anxiousness out of my system. I was just loving being out there in the middle.
"You never want to get out, especially the last ball of the day as it turned out to be. I'd like to be 37 not out overnight, but that's cricket. All you can do is learn from it."
Khawaja's mature knock ended when he top-edged a sweep off spinner Graeme Swann to Jonathan Trott at backward square leg. It was to be the last ball of the day before the rain swept in.
Asked about how he envisaged his playing future, Khawaja said: "Obviously, I'd love to have a long Test career.
"I'd like to play cricket, especially for Australia, as long as possible but I'm taking Ricky Ponting's spot, who is probably the greatest Australian batsman bar Don Bradman, so I'm just enjoying this Test match rignt now and trying to savour everything I can."