Usman Khawaja, the opener for Australia, has had a reasonable amount of success over the past few of years, and he believes that facing the Indian spin attack lead by Ravichandran Ashwin will be the “hardest task” of the four-match series that will begin on February 9 in Nagpur.
The hitter who was born in Pakistan and who came in India after the rest of his colleagues due to a delay in receiving his visa will bat first alongside David Warner.
In India, Khawaja has experience playing cricket with a restricted number of overs, but after being selected for the Test squad in 2013 and 2017, he will finally get a chance to compete in the longer format.
The leg-spinner, who was just just crowned Australia’s “Test Cricketer of the Year,” is expected to play a significant part in his team’s attempt to win its first series in India since 2004-2005. This victory would be the first for Australia in India since then.
“There is unquestionably a distinct difference in the atmosphere. Even if there are no guarantees in this game, there is at least a bit more maturity being displayed, notably in the batting, as well as more maturity being seen in the bowling.
“Over the past ten years, we’ve gained a lot of knowledge, particularly about the different types of wickets we can get and the ways in which we believe we can perform and compete in order to win test matches out here.
According to what he said to the Sydney Morning Herald, “It seems as though we are in a better situation than we were before, but it’s always going to be difficult.”
Upon their arrival in Bengaluru a week ago, Australia decided to practise for the Test series by creating conditions similar to those that favour spin bowling rather than playing a warm-up game before the series.
They have made it quite obvious that they view Ashwin as the most significant danger posed by the competition; in fact, as part of their preparation for the high-stakes competition, they have acquired Ashwin’s “double.”
Australia, a team comprised entirely of left-handed players, is putting in extra work to combat the threat posed by Ashwin.
“Ashwin is a lethal weapon. He has a lot of tricky tiny variations, and he also uses the crease fairly well, which demonstrates his high level of skill.
“I didn’t really learn how to face what off-spinners are doing when I was younger, so if you had asked me the same question when I was younger, I probably wouldn’t have been able to answer a lot of things,” said Khawaja. If you had asked me the same question when I was younger, I probably wouldn’t have been able to answer a lot of things.
“However, this is one of those extremely beneficial challenges. He is going to be involved in the action and bowl a lot of overs because the wicket is going to turn at some time in this match, whether it is on day one, day three, or day four.
“So at this point, it’s all about finding out how I’m going to play against him, how I’m going to score runs against him, and what he might do,” the player said.
If you continue to bat against him for a long time, he will adjust his strategies to be more effective against you.
“He is not the type of man who will do the same thing over and over again; rather, he will strive to figure you out.” In each of the four matches, the away team anticipates playing on surfaces that will turn, which will make the bowling attacks of Ashwin, Axar Patel, and Ravindra Jadeja even more dangerous.
“If the pitch is in good condition, the easiest moment to bat is typically when the new ball is being bowled. However, as soon as the surface becomes more uneven in India and spinners begin to bowl with a new ball, that is perhaps the most difficult period to bat anywhere in the world.
“During our practise sessions, the new ball on the spinning wickets is always the most difficult period. People have the misconception that opening the batting is the optimal way to play the game in the subcontinent. While this is true when the ball is flat, it is not the case when the ball is spinning because there is so much variation with the new ball. Once it begins to loosen up, it becomes much simpler to forecast what it is going to do,” Khawaja added.
He also detailed the difficulties he had encountered on his journey to India.
“The situation was what it was, and to tell you the truth, all I wanted to do was get over there. Unfortunately for me, there is a fantastic flight that departs directly from Sydney to Bangalore, but I was not able to take that trip, which was a bummer.
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