Khawaja, who was born in Islamabad, made his Test cricket debut for Australia in 2011 and became the first Pakistan-born player to do so.
Australia’s opening pitcher Usman Khawaja has opened up about his struggles to integrate into the Australian national team and the brand he wanted to create because he was born in a different country. Additionally, Khawaja sees his ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against India as the perfect opportunity to take his career to the next level.
Born in Islamabad, Pakistan, Khawaja made his Test cricket debut for Australia in early 2011, becoming the first Pakistani-born player to do so. But that wasn’t the end of Kawaja’s struggle. He still had a long way to go before he was accepted and respected by his teammates.
Kawaja admitted his biggest challenge as a professional was finding his place and making himself comfortable with the Australian cricket team. That required him to be true to himself and earn the respect of his teammates through his performances on the pitch.
He rises to the challenge and is proud to be a cricketer born in Pakistan or another subcontinent to play for Australia.
“In my entire career as an Australian national team player, the biggest challenge for me has been adapting. It took me a while, “It just means I am me and I am happy to be myself,” Kawaja told the ICC.
I am one of the few black cricketers to ever represent Australia: Khawaja
“Doing what I want and having the players on my team understand and respect me for who I am.
But at the same time, I am most proud of it. Because I am the first cricketer born there.” Player representing Australia’s cricket team from Pakistan or the subcontinent. And I’m one of the few black cricketers to represent Australia, so I’m very proud,” he added. He responded by scoring goals in Australia’s domestic league, the Sheffield Shield, which resulted in a call-up to The Ashes for the 2021/22 season against England.
Kawaja had a quick shot and made hundreds of shots in both innings in the home test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Kawaja’s contribution was crucial in Australia’s maiden World Test Championship final. During the 2021-23 WTC cycle, he scored a staggering 1,608 runs, placing him second only to England’s Joe Root on the 2021-23 list of leading run-getters.