Usman Tariq Khawaja (Urdu: عثمان خواجہ; born 18 December 1986) is an Australian cricketer who currently represents Australia and Queensland. Khawaja made his first-class cricket debut for New South Wales in 2008 and played his first international match for Australia in January 2011. Khawaja has also played county cricket for Derbyshire, Glamorgan and Lancashire, and Twenty20 cricket in the Indian Premier League for the now defunct Rising Pune Supergiant franchise.
Khawaja in January 2018
|Full name||Usman Tariq Khawaja|
|Born||18 December 1986|
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Bowling||Right-arm off break|
|Test debut (cap 419)||3 January 2011 v England|
|Last Test||22 August 2019 v England|
|ODI debut (cap 199)||11 January 2013 v Sri Lanka|
|Last ODI||6 July 2019 v South Africa|
|ODI shirt no.||1|
|T20I debut (cap 80)||31 January 2016 v India|
|Last T20I||9 September 2016 v Sri Lanka|
|T20I shirt no.||1|
|Domestic team information|
|2007–2012||New South Wales|
|2016–2017||Rising Pune Supergiant|
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 31 October 2019
A left-handed top order batsman, Khawaja was awarded Player of the Australian Under-19 Championship in 2005 and also played for Australia in the 2006 U-19 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka as an opening batsman.
He made his first-class debut for the New South Wales Blues in 2008. In the same year, he hit consecutive double centuries for the NSW Second XI—a feat never before achieved by a NSW player. On 22 June 2010 it was announced by Cricket Australia that Usman Khawaja would be a part of the Australian touring squad to play Pakistan in a two Test series in England.
Khawaja signed a contract to play for county side Derbyshire in the 2011 English domestic season. He played in four County Championship matches, averaging 39.87 with the bat and scoring a century (135) against Kent. After his county stint, he made five further Test appearances in 2011, scoring one half-century (65) against South Africa. He was dropped from Australia's Test team after the home series against New Zealand, making way for Shaun Marsh upon Marsh's return from injury.
Khawaja was selected as part of the 17-man Australian squad for the 2010–11 Ashes series. During the third Test, Ricky Ponting fractured his finger and Khawaja was named as a stand-by if Ponting could not recover in time. He was subsequently selected in the Australian cricket team to play in the fifth Test against England in Sydney on 3 January 2011. On 3 January 2011, Khawaja became the 419th Australian to be presented with an Australian Cricket Test baggy green cap. Khawaja became the first Muslim and first Pakistani-born Australian player to play Test cricket for Australia, and only the seventh foreign-born cricketer to do so in the last 80 years.
Before the third Test against India in March 2013, Australia suspended Khawaja, along with James Pattinson, Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson following a breach of discipline. Michael Clarke, the captain, revealed that the step had been taken as a result of repeated infractions which led to Watson flying back home and contemplating Test retirement. Some former players reacted with astonishment at the decision taken by the team management. Khawaja made his Test return in the second Test of the 2013 Ashes series, replacing Ed Cowan.
In his first Test in more than two years, he scored his maiden Test century, in the first Test against New Zealand on 5 November 2015, in which he scored 174 with 16 fours and 2 sixes. He made this return in his tenth Test in the coveted number 3 position, helping Australia to an emphatic victory.
Since his return to Test cricket, Khawaja has scored 4 centuries in 6 matches.
During the 2015–16 season, Khawaja was in spectacular form for Australia and his domestic T20 franchise the Sydney Thunder, with many pundits hailing his renaissance as a batsman since being dropped from the Australian team in 2013 and recovering from an injury in 2015. He also switched to using Kookaburra equipment.
Additionally, Khawaja set a record for becoming the first ever batman to score Test century in an innings of a Day-Night Test match at home soil and still has the record for the second highest individual score in a Day-Night Test innings.
Khawaja played his first Test match against the country of his birth, Pakistan, on 15 December 2016 at the Gabba. When asked about the significance of the match, he described a moment of confusion outside the change rooms:
"Funnily enough I was waiting downstairs and I needed the change room locker to be opened for us and I was just waiting and the Queensland Cricket lady came down. She was like 'Oh, you need the locker rooms open?' I went 'yes please' and she started walking to the Pakistani change room. I was like, 'No, I'm that way, thank you'.
In January 2017 Khawaja dabbed in celebration of his half-century scored in a Test match against Pakistan in Sydney. His move received mixed reactions, with some praising it, while others accused him of disrespecting his opponents.
In April 2019, he was named in Australia's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. In Australia's final group-stage match, against South Africa, Khawaja picked up a hamstring injury, ruling him out of the rest of the tournament. Matthew Wade was named as cover for him.
In July 2019, he was named in Australia's squad for the 2019 Ashes series in England. In the series, Khawaja was most senior in the side while Steve Smith and David Warner were absent so he had to deliver the best performance being one best player. Across the Ashes, he returned the scores of 13, 40, 36, 2, 8 and 23. Therefore for the fourth Ashes Test, Smith replaced Khawaja.
Khawaja was born in Islamabad, Pakistan, and his family emigrated to New South Wales when he was 5. He became the first Australian of Pakistani origin to represent Australia when he made his debut in the 2010–11 Ashes series. He is a qualified commercial and instrument-rated pilot, completing a bachelor's degree in Aviation from the University of New South Wales before he made his Test debut. He attained his basic pilot licence before his driving licence. He was educated at Westfields Sports High School. Usman Khawaja announced his engagement on 14 December 2016 on his Facebook page. and subsequently married his wife Rachel on 6 April 2018. Rachel Khawaja (née McLellan) converted to Islam prior to their wedding.
Khawaja's elder brother, Arsalan Tariq Khawaja, was arrested in December 2018 in connection with a "fake terrorist hit list" prepared by him. After being released on bail, he was rearrested later the same month for contacting and trying to influence a witness in the case.
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- "Engagement photo".
- "Usman Khawaja marries Rachel McLellan at Maleny Manor". couriermail.com.au.
- "Rachel Khawaja (@rachelmkhawaja) • Instagram photos and videos". www.instagram.com.
- McGowan, Michael (4 December 2018). "Cricketer Usman Khawaja's brother charged over 'terrorism' notebook" – via www.theguardian.com.
- "Usman Khawaja brother, Arsalan 'assaulted' in Sydney prison, Cricket Australia". 28 February 2019.