Usman Khawaja, Australia’s middle order batsman, seems to be frustrated after getting left out of the playing XI during the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Series. In an interview, the left-hander bared it all and expressed his unhappiness about the selection decision.
“Maybe when I younger I would have been frustrated [at missing out on the Tests in India],” Khawaja told foxsports.com.au. “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.”
Khawaja was optimistic about his chances in the tour of India. He had a very good reason to have such expectation, especially after being rested from the Chappell – Hadlee ODI Series against New Zealand and sent to Dubai for preparations.
However, when the Indian tour finally began, the selectors favoured Shaun Marsh over Khawaja for a place in the middle order.
A day before, Australia announced its squad for the Champions Trophy and Khawaja failed to win a place in the party that is set to tour England in June. He feels the selectors should have allowed him to play in the ODI series against New Zealand.
“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.
“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.”
Khawaja stated he settled the discontentment on his own after a chat with head coach Darren Lehmann. He admits that he lost his place due to a better competition claiming his stake in the team.
“To Boof’s credit I had a chat to 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,” Khawaja said.
“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.”
Before the India tour, Khawaja had a very unimpressive run, scoring 115 runs at 19.16 in four Tests in Asia. He also performed poorly in the tour game against India A – another factor that made the selectors choose Marsh over him.
“It is tough one because the way I look at it was Reny [Matt Renshaw] and [David] Warner were going to open, [captain Steve Smith] was going to play, Petey [Handscomb] was going to play, it was probably going to be between me and Shaun Marsh and he got hundred in the last Test match in Sri Lanka.
“The selectors went for a gut feel I assume and that is their job,” Khawaja said. “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.
“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’.”