It wouldn’t be outlandish to say that Australia opener Usman Khawaja has been one of the very best players in Test cricket, at least since the start of 2022.
Making his debut against England in January 2011 as a 24-year-old, Khawaja was seen as a huge prospect for the present and the future.
In his debut Test at the SCG, Khawaja should great resolve as he scored 37 runs in 95 deliveries in the 1st innings, followed by a 73-ball 21-run knock in the 2nd innings. He came in at No. 3 and showed glimpses of his talent in those two innings, even though he couldn’t get past his fifty.
Khawaja’s first fifty in Tests came in his fourth match, in the 2nd innings of the 2nd Test of Australia’s tour to South Africa at Johannesburg in 2011. In six previous innings, his highest score was 37, in his debut innings.
Chasing a target of 310, Australia lost their openers Shane Watson and Phil Hughes cheaply and were left reeling at 19-2. In came Khawaja with minimum international experience to score his maiden Test fifty in a pretty testing situation.
He had to wait a further six Tests and 11 innings to notch his maiden Test century, which came 4 years, 10 months, and 2 days after his debut. It was a classy knock of 174 runs at Brisbane against New Zealand.
Khawaja went on to score three more centuries in his next three Tests, before suffering a massive dip as he scored just 293 runs in the next five Tests at a mediocre average of 29.3
From that point on, Khawaja’s Test form was pretty inconsistent. Before he was dropped from the Australia side in 2019, Khawaja managed just one century and one half century in 17 innings, which was his worst patch in his career.
A comeback to remember by Usman Khawaja
Owing to his incredible form in the domestic circuit, Khawaja was recalled to the Australian side in 2021 for the first two Ashes Tests.
“He brings a calm, consistent and experienced component to the batting line up and is a proven run scorer at Test level. He also has the ability to bat across a range of positions in the batting order,” George Bailey, Chairman of the National Selection Panel, said.
And he announced his comeback in an extraordinary fashion, scoring centuries in both innings of the 4th Test of The Ashes in Sydney. He batted at No. 5 in both innings and looked like he had never been dropped.
After that, he was promoted to open the innings, and he hasn’t looked back ever since. Khawaja finished as the second highest run-getter of the ICC World Test Championship 2021-2023 cycle and also notched up a century in the 1st innings of the first Test of the ongoing Ashes.
Usman Khawaja’s record in Tests since being recalled in 2021
NOTE: The stats do not include Khawaja’s runs in the 2nd innings of the first Test of Ashes 2023.
Published at Mon, 19 Jun 2023 18:51:38 +0000