Usman Khawaja, who was born in another country, has spoken out about the difficulties he had integrating into the Australian squad and the mark he wished to make. In addition, Khawaja views the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against India as the ideal opportunity to advance his career.
Khawaja, who was born in Islamabad, Pakistan, became the first Pakistani-born athlete to play Test cricket for Australia at the start of 2011. But Khawaja’s difficulties did not end there; he had a long way to go before gaining his teammates’ acceptance and respect.
The greatest challenge of Khawaja’s career has been finding his position and feeling comfortable with the Australian cricket team. It was necessary for him to maintain his integrity and earn the respect of his teammates through his on-field performances.
He overcame the obstacle and is proud to be an Australian cricketer born in Pakistan or another subcontinental region.
“My biggest obstacle throughout my tenure playing for Australia has been assimilating. It has taken some time for me to feel like I belong and can be myself in the Australian cricket team. “Part of that is earning the respect of my teammates by scoring runs and performing well on the field, and the other part is being myself and being at ease in my own skin,” Khawaja told ICC.
I am one of the few cricketers of color to have ever represented Australia: Khawaja
“To do what I desire and for my teammates to comprehend and respect who I am as a person. Attempting to alter certain structural aspects of Australian cricket requires a certain amount of time, and this has been my greatest obstacle.
“But at the same time, it is the accomplishment of which I am most proud, as I am the first cricketer born in Pakistan or with a subcontinental heritage to represent the Australian cricket team. And I am one of the few cricketers of color to ever represent Australia, so I am extremely proud,” he added.
Khawaja lost three years of his international career after being dismissed from the Test squad following the 2019 Ashes. As a result of amassing runs in Australia’s domestic competition, the Sheffield Shield, he was called up for The Ashes in 2021-22 against England.
In both innings of his home Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Khawaja scored centuries. Khawaja’s contribution to Australia’s first World Test Championship final has been indispensable. He amassed an astonishing 1608 runs during the 2021–23 WTC cycle and is second only to England’s Joe Root on the list of leading run scorers for the 2021–23 period.