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  1. #1
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    Apr 2013
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    "I've worked my absolute backside off for the last 10 years" : Usman Khawaja

    An emotional Usman Khawaja has fired back at his critics after scoring a match-saving century for Australia that has been declared one of the great Test innings.

    With Australia facing seemingly insurmountable odds to save the first Test in Dubai, Khawaja dug in at the crease for eight hours and 44 minutes to score his first century in Asia and help steer Australia to a valiant draw.

    Khawaja faced 302 balls for his 141, grinding out the second-longest knock ever in the fourth innings of a Test.

    The 31-year-old gazed to the sky and appeared to be overcome with relief as wife Rachel cried in the stands after he brought up his century shortly after lunch.

    Khawaja has faced heavy scrutiny over his record in Asian conditions, while his elegant batting style has also fuelled an unfair perception of laziness.

    "People think because of my relaxed nature ... that I've been gifted to be able to get to where I am," he said.

    "But it's not the case at all.

    "I've worked my absolute backside off for the last 10 years and really worked as hard as I can in different conditions like this and in England and other places.

    "People overlook that sort of stuff. You don't get to play at the highest level without putting in the hard yards."

    Chasing a world-record 462 to win, the tourists survived 140 overs in Dubai - an unprecedented effort to save a game for Australia.

    Khawaja also scored a determined 85 in the first innings, combining with Aaron Finch for a 137-run opening partnership.

    All up, Khawaja spent almost 13 hours at the crease with temperatures in the high 30s.

    "That first innings was as tough as any innings I've played," he said.

    "I came off the field with sweat through my shirt. My shirt was drenched and pants were drenched. That took it out of me a fair bit.

    "I was feeling pretty good for most of it until we got to the second session with one hour left before tea, then I was withering.

    "I was just asking for God to get the sun down so we could get some shade."

    Concerns about Khawaja's ability to handle turning tracks meant he was overlooked during last year's Test series in India and dropped after one Test in Bangladesh.

    The Queensland batsman has also had to battle critics closer to home despite averaging almost 60 in Australia.

    Former Test wicketkeeper Ian Healy branded him "lazy" during last year's Ashes - a label that Khawaja showed to be folly with his magnificent effort in Dubai which was lauded by Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.

    "I have seen one of the best innings in Test cricket, especially in the fourth innings," Sarfraz said.

    "The way he batted, he took Australia to the draw. He batted very well, he played most of his shots, even the reverse-sweep, so his was a brilliant knock."

    https://www.theage.com.au/sport/cric...12-p5097e.html


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  2. #2
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    May 2014
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    Plays spin well. It's in the genes.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2016
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    Great innings by him. Batting nine hours or something requires great concentration. He deserves all the credit here. Well played.


    PP's own self proclaimed sharpshooter and defender of Islam and Pakistan.

  4. #4
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    I always appreciate hard work, so congratulations to Khawaja.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2016
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    He poorest against spin in Aus team during 2012 india tour. Didnt improve much in the last tour as well.
    Now seems to have finally learned to play spin.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2013
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    He has added more armoury to his arsenals but in Indian absolute rank turners he won't last long. Pakistan doesn't have a good finger spinner.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2009
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    Khawaja has worked incredibly hard on his game. You could have seen the difference on the A tour to India earlier this year where he scored a hundred as well. Hope he has turned a corner in his cricketing career.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2012
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    He certainly worked really hard on his fitness from about 18 months ago. He installed his own gym, hired his own trainers to do extra on top of regular State cricket etc. The fitness shows in concentration imo.

    That was one reason he was told he was dropped in the past. Whatever selectors have said, he has listened without tantrums and worked hard to improve.

    Justified reward. Well done.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    Former Test wicketkeeper Ian Healy branded him "lazy" during last year's Ashes - a label that Khawaja showed to be folly with his magnificent effort in Dubai which was lauded by Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.
    Healy: Selectors deserve 'an uppercut' for Khawaja treatment

    Australian cricket legend Ian Healy says the selectors who felt Usman Khawaja couldn’t play spin bowling “should give themselves an uppercut” following the drawn first Test against Pakistan in Dubai.

    Khawaja played a career-defining innings of 141 that kept Pakistan at bay for nearly nine hours, saving Australia from a seemingly hopeless position.

    The 31-year-old has struggled to shed the perception he couldn’t play spin bowling, with his nine previous Test innings in Asia yielding just 117 runs, before his man-of-the-match contributions of 85 and 141 to start a two-match series that comes in a time of transition for the Australian Test team.

    After struggling in Sri Lanka in 2016, he toured India in 2017 but was overlooked for all four Test matches, despite scoring heavily in Australia in the interim.

    “I think the selectors should give themselves an uppercut for telling the world he couldn’t play spin a couple of years ago,” Healy told Wide World of Sports.

    “It was quite unfair the way he was treated after the Sri Lankan tour in 2016, I would much rather they persisted with him in Asia and allowed him to develop rather than drop him.

    “Instead of being constructive, they were destructive.

    “It’s a great tribute to Usman that he was mentally strong enough to put that behind him and play as well as he did in this match.”

    Healy labelled Khawaja “lazy” during the Ashes last summer, but explained this criticism was directed at the left-hander’s batting being too “one-paced” and “not batting with the versatility I know he’s got.”

    “He’s along the lines of Mark Waugh,” Healy said.

    “They make batting look easy and sometimes that means they make getting out look easy.”

    Former skipper Mark Taylor says Khawaja’s epic hundred means he’s now ticked all the boxes, having also made a superb hundred in seam-friendly conditions against a high quality South African bowling attack in Adelaide in 2016.

    “Just because at one stage of your career you’re not playing one type of bowling very well doesn’t mean you can’t improve,” Taylor told Wide World of Sports.

    “You’re allowed to go away and get better and Usman obviously has.

    “He’s now made runs on green tracks against top quality pace attacks and now he’s scored runs on a turning pitch against the spinners.”

    New skipper Tim Paine has made it clear he wants the team to regain the support of the Australian public, after the tumult of the ball-tampering scandal back in March. Taylor says a result such as this will go a long way towards getting the public back onside.

    “I don’t believe Australian cricket has ever had a win at all costs attitude, but we want out team to fight to the very end.

    “We want to know that every ball of every match means something to the players, and I think when you have a draw against the odds it shows the public how hard the players are prepared to fight.

    “We want to see fight in our cricketers. That doesn’t mean we want to see it go too far, but we want them to take it to the very edge and compete strongly and fairly within the laws of the game.

    “I think this result shows this team can do exactly that.”

    Australia will feel like they dodged a bullet in this match, escaping with a draw despite a first innings deficit of 280. It leaves the series level at 0-0 heading into the second and final Test in Abu Dhabi starting on Tuesday, and Healy says the team will take a lot of confidence from the result.

    “For the sake of a hundred runs and a bit more time, you never know what might have happened,” he said.

    “To force a draw was fantastic. Traditionally we’re not good at that.

    “That effort was as good as it gets.”

    https://wwos.nine.com.au/cricket/aus...6-8e2b8cf80f81


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  10. #10
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    Mar 2016
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    The way he has improved against spin, he deserves credit for that. Great innings. His fitness has improved something which was questioned a few years ago.


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