Everyone is asking where Osman Khwaja has been in Sydney for the last two years after the twins – but the truth is that he deserved where he was.
You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people.
On Wednesday morning, the legendary singer-songwriter uploaded a clip of his last musical poem – a Three minute gag about Australian cricketer Usman Khwaja.
“Cricket has kindled a deep fire in his soul
And every day he worked under his control
Usman Khwaja soon showed his grace
He knows how to release the ball, how to set the speed
He set himself up to win speed and swing and spin and sim
Long ago he made the national team …
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Last week, Khwaja became the sixth Australian to hit two centuries in the Ashes Test, Making 137 and 101 not out in the exciting New Year’s Ashes game at SCG.
It was a skillful performance from the age of 35, with both knocks showing off his versatility as a cricketer – he can survive stormy weather and survive at the crease or switch to T20 mode and attack when needed.
Khwaja made the ball disappear easily into the open space, striking England’s helpless bowlers in all four corners of the prestigious spot. Lofted reverse sweeps, powerful pull shots, cracking cover drives – he had it all.
“Usman Khwaja, a good and kind man.
“He knows when to take his time, when to speed up
“A lot of batsmen like to hit
“But Osman is all about the flow …”
But two centuries have taken Australian cricket fans by surprise; Where has Khwaja been for the last two years? Why was he not selected after 2019 Ashes?
There was a predominant love for the left-hander as fans look back at the past with rose-rolled glasses.
Journalist Kishor Napier-Raman tweeted last week: “Remind me why we removed Usman Khwaja again?”
Arvind Hickman wrote: “Incredible strike by @Uz_Khawaja, one of the best guys in Australian cricket and one of our best batsmen. It is never understood why he left two years ago, but he has struggled for his return to the team and has scored an excellent century on his return. Great moment. “
Of the age Daniel Bretig tweeted: “Usman Khwaja has scored two centuries in his comeback Test match. It’s not just about whether he will play another Test now or not. It’s also about how he hasn’t played in the last three years.
Sports producer Sarang Valerao posted: “Hopefully, those who scored and kept him out did not say that we wanted Khwaja to go hungry and so he got the best out. It is inappropriate to remove Khwaja for about 3 years.”
The cruel truth is that Khwaja deserved to be released in 2019, as he deserves to be remembered this summer. In the last 18 months, his batting has improved a lot, which could not have happened without hours of untiring training and dedication in sports.
“I’ve done a lot of work, a lot of time behind the scenes that people don’t see,” Khwaja told reporters at the SCG last week.
“Never take anything for granted. I wasn’t sure if I should play for Australia again, let alone hit a century for Australia.
“It’s amazing how life can work.”
“He’s a better player than the last time he played for Australia,” England assistant coach Graham Thorpe said on the fourth day’s stumps.
Khwaja’s dance near the boundary line in front of the Burmese Army at the Adelaide Oval showed new confidence. He is more comfortable with where he is in life and who he is as a person.
Starting a family has quickly tracked his maturity and self-discovery over the past two years, which has helped him become one of the most beloved members of the national team and Australian cricket.
His priorities have changed – cricket is no longer for everyone and not for everyone.
“Our lives have really changed,” Khwaja’s wife Rachel told Fox Cricket last week. “We found one child and another on the road. It’s more about the family.
“And he’s just been playing cricket and he loves to play for Queensland. Life has really changed for us and it really puts things in perspective.
Khwaja said: “It means a lot. I wanted him to play another Test at home so that he could be there.
Khwaja’s four-year cricket roller coaster
Khwaja has endured all the heights of professional cricket since the summer of 2017/18 – centuries, ducks, Ashes victories, Cape Town, street blinds, drop catches, Sheffield Shield titles, Big Bash flops and World Cup injuries.
Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have all been banned from international cricket.
Khwaja and veteran Western Australian all-rounder Shaun Mars suddenly became the most senior batsman in the Test team, even though they were not included in Australia’s starting XI eight months ago.
But Khwaja immediately proved his mettle by scoring 141 runs, defining a career to help keep Australia out of the doldrums of defeat against Pakistan in Dubai. It was a knock that not only limited his place on the Test side, but also allayed doubts about his ability to score on the subcontinent.
However, after returning to the shores of Australia that summer, Khwaja came out of India’s talented bowling attack. The left-hander could not score a century in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after Australia lost their first Test series against India at home.
Khwaja was said to be leading the Australian batting attack in the absence of Smith and Warner, but he averaged 28.28 in the four-match series and scored only 33 runs once in eight innings.
His teammates also struggled but they needed more from Khwaja, who was the team’s best batsman at the time.
Khwaja rediscovered his mojo in a one-sided series against Sri Lanka in January 2019, where he scored an unbeaten century at the Manuka Oval in Canberra – albeit in a game where three of his teammates also reached the triple figure.
Despite missing a practice game in Southampton due to injury, Khwaja was named in Australia’s Test squad for the 2019 Ashes series despite the return of Smith, Warner and Bancroft. Friends Canberra Centurion Joe Burns and Curtis Patterson were not so lucky.
With the notable exception of Smith, most Australian batsmen struggled in the 2019 Ashes series – Warner averaged 9.50, Bancroft 11.00, Marcus Harris 9.66, Travis Head 27.28.
Khwaja was no exception – he scored 20.33 runs at an average of 13, 40, 36, 2, 9 and 23 in the first three Tests.
The swinging Dukes ball repeatedly thwarted Queenslander, who was defeated by the England seamers in six consecutive innings – five catches by wicketkeeper Johnny Bairstow and one by Jason Roy at the slip cord.
A worrying pattern emerged – Khwaja was fired in almost the same manner every time he went to the middle of England. His defense was incredible, and his decision was clouded off stump.
The national selectors were confused after Smith returned from injury before the fourth Test in Manchester. Concussion substitute Marnus Labuschen was Australia’s best player, while Smith scored 59, 70 and 80 in difficult conditions – leaving him no choice.
Head was vice-captain at the time, while Matthew Wade scored his third Test century in the series. There were no other vacancies in the Middle Order.
But someone had to make way for Smith and Khwaja was a fallen man.
“Khawaza soon found out when you reached the top
This is only temporary, everyone wants their place
Because we don’t always know
The selectors say yes, sometimes say no … “
Of course, the selectors did not put a thick red line in Khwaja’s name – he had a chance to fight back in the home Test series against Pakistan.
But in the summer of 2019/20, Khwaja had the most lucrative Sheffield Shield campaign of his career, scoring 202 runs in seven first-class games at a pathetic average of 18.36.
In his last audition, Khwaja was dismissed for 3 in the first innings against Australia A fixtures against Pakistan in Perth – worryingly, again caught by the wicketkeeper.
The national selectors eventually ignored Khwaja for the Pakistan series, replacing Bancroft as the Test team’s replacement batsman. In Khwaja’s absence, Labuschen flew, breaking the record he had previously occupied at No. 3 in the summer.
In early 2021, Khwaja was not selected in the national team for a tour of New Zealand’s White Ball or a Test tour of South Africa – whose previous games have been postponed.
In the eyes of national selectors, he has long been considered one of the country’s top 30 cricketers. His international career was coming to an end.
But earlier this summer, “Usman Khwaja” started trending on Twitter once again when he scored a bucket run in the Sheffield Shield.
Before the Big Bash Christmas break, Khwaja scored 460 runs in five games at 65.71, including back-to-back centuries against South Australia and Tasmania.
But in early November, Gabba was attacked against Western Australia by George Bailey and his selection panel. With his teammates scattering around him, Khwaja collected a Classy 70 on a green wicket covered in clouds. He was the only player in Queensland’s top eight to reach double digits.
The long-awaited Test recall for Khwaja was enough, but chief selector Bailey made it abundantly clear what his role was for the Ashes series – a reserve batter could play anywhere in the top six.
He finally got the chance when Head tested positive for Covid-19 in Melbourne, and he’s sure hell didn’t let it go.
“And at 35, when many thought he was through.
“He got some luck and got the call, and stay true to yourself
“At SCG he made an amazing ton
“Then it was better backed up …”
Originally published Australia, your pre-existing Osman Khwaja love-in is all wrong