Australia’s top-order batsman Usman Khawaja traveled with the national team to Dubai to prepare for the Border-Gavaskar Test series in India, but he did not get a chance to play there as the national selectors preferring Shaun Marsh in his middle-order role.
He has not found a place in Australia's 15-man squad for the Champions Trophy, but the dashing batsman said that that snub was not hurting him but the most frustrating thing for me was not to play the Chappell-Hadlee ODI series in New Zealand. Even though, Khawaja is confident about his chances of winning a Test recall for the Ashes.
Speaking to foxsports.com.au, Khawaja said, “Maybe when I younger I would have been frustrated [at missing out on the Tests in India]. In saying that obviously, I would have loved to play in that Test series, [and] when I didn't get to play in that first Test I was a bit frustrated.”
He further added, “I sort of had an idea I was not going to play in that first Test after I didn't get a run during the tour match. We played brilliant in that first Test match and we won. I was frustrated at the time, not so much because I didn't play in that Test match -- I understand the selectors, Boof [coach Darren Lehmann] and picking the best team and what was going on and I just want Australia to win.”
Khawaja said that exclusion from One-day matches after preparing for them was the toughest part for him. He further said, “The most frustrating thing for me was not to play those three ODIs in New Zealand. Getting pulled out from them to come to Dubai to prepare for 10 days and then not play the first Test. So I actually miss out on the one-day matches for Australia. For me, that was the tough part. I got pulled out of that series to prepare for India and then not playing was a bit hard.”
After discussing his situation with Australian coach Daren Lehmann, Khawaja said that he felt better and then he is ‘trying hard to do the best for the team and be ready in case the opportunity did come up’.
The 30-year-old said, “To Boof's credit I had a chat with him about all that stuff and he came up to me and he actually knew where I was at in that things had not worked out, not being able to play the ODIs and come early to India, he knew exactly where I was coming from. Once I chatted out to him it helped me quite a bit. He has seen it all, he has seen the ups and downs so after I had that discussion with him I was fine. I was just like 'there are few more ODIs coming up that I can look forward to'. After that chat, I was fine and just trying to do the best for the team and be ready in case the opportunity did come up.”
Khawaja said that he don't bother worrying too much about his selection as those things he can’t control. “The selectors went for a gut feel I assume and that is their job. I'm at a stage now where there are things I can control and there are things I can't control so I don't bother worrying too much about it.”
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He further added that he always would like to play against India but he did not get a chance yet. He stated, “I always want to be out there playing cricket. I have not played a Test match in India yet and it is hard fact to take it because at least I can prove to myself and to other people that I can do well out here. But on the same token as the saying goes on in sport 'if you hang on for too long there is more negative that comes out than positive'.”
With his fine record on home pitches, the left-hander is likely to be restored to Australia’s top order for the Ashes. But, Usman also said he has learned not to look too far ahead.
He concluded, “It is the pinnacle of cricket when you represent Australia playing against the old enemy. But to be frank it is still far away and a lot can happen between now and the Ashes.”