As my 5th grade teacher would repeatedly say to my young exuberant self, “Learn from your elders”. Unfortunately, he had a point at the time. Yet, Usman Khawaja composed and promising 37 on debut would have been a wonderful counter to Mr. Anderson’s seemingly unshakeable advice.
Following Phil Hughes’ failed resolute effort, Khawaja received a thunderous applause from his home crowd when he walked out to bat. Instantly, he presented a confident and relaxed demeanour at the crease. He comfortably whipped an over-pitched delivery from Tremlett to open his account and followed up with a powerful pull shot for four. In no time he raced to an exciting 15. The runs dried up for the young dynamite, but this was the moment when he showed the world that he can excel at the highest level. He faced some testing and probing overs from the bowler of the series, Jimmy Anderson, and his fellow English speedsters. Unlike Khawaja’s senior teammates and captain, he showed the benefit of playing the ball with soft hands, rather than stabbing at the cherry. He followed up his impressive stroke play with watchful leaves. Throughout the series, the Australian batsman have too often pushed hard at the ball and lacked the required discipline to leave moving deliveries outside off-stump. Furthermore, his footwork was organised and his confident swagger at the crease implies that he feels worthy of donning the Baggy Green.
Despite the English assuming the dominant position in the final test, Australia should be encouraged by the debut of Khawaja. Khawaja’s 37 doesn’t read as any momentous performance, but it was the nature in which he constructed his innings that made his debut eye catching and memorable. The veterans and youngsters alike in Australian cricket can learn a considerable amount from the way the NSW debutant played with relaxed hands and a cleared head.