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"Would 100 percent make a complaint or just leave" - Khawaja on English crowds' behaviour

Last updated on 17 Jul 2023 | 11:54 AM
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"Would 100 percent make a complaint or just leave" - Khawaja on English crowds' behaviour

The left-handed opener speaks about the abuse Australian players have been receiving from the crowds

Usman Khawaja is set to return to Old Trafford after four years, the same venue where he was dropped from the Test team in 2019 and thought his career was all but over. Marnus Labuschagne made an impressive return to Test cricket after Steven Smith suffered a concussion in the second game, and hasn’t looked back since then.

Smith missed the third Test, but when he returned for the fourth match, it was Khawaja who was left out of the XI, with Labuschagne scoring 59, 74 and 80 in his first three innings after making a comeback. Khawaja didn’t play a single Test for more than two years before returning to the mix in 2019.

The left-hander has been a beast since his comeback, amassing 2242 runs across 47 innings at an average of 56.05, studded with eight fifties and nine centuries. Even in the ongoing Ashes series, Khawaja is the leading run-scorer, having slammed 356 runs @ 59.33.

"It was the toughest point of my career. I thought my career was pretty much over then. My wife was joking about it the other day. She was sitting up in a shopping mall at Leeds and she was saying last time I was here, it wasn't a good time,” Khawaja recalled of 2019.

"It was nice, it's funny how things work out. You get to come back to England and actually play at Old Trafford this time. It's a very different vibe. The team is in a different place. I am really just enjoying it."

Khawaja has been solid in this series but the same can’t be said about his opening partner David Warner. The left-hander is averaging 23.50 in this series and could sit out in the fourth Test, with Cameron Green regaining full fitness. There would have been a straight swap with Mitchell Marsh, but the latter had a comeback to remember in Leeds.

"He's probably the hot topic right now. I don't know because I don't really read the stuff. If I will say anything, from my point of view, Dave Warner has been one of the greatest openers of all time, it is him and Haydos (Matthew Hayden) right up there for Australia I reckon, the top two ever, so I will always back Davey no matter what and I think the other guys will too."

Talking about the conditions on offer, Khawaja said: “I don't think anyone has felt in at any stage. That is England with Dukes balls, weather and conditions. Whereas Australia, sometimes you can kind of lock in and feel like I am in now, I can feel like stretching this for a while. Where here, it doesn't feel like that because the ball is always going enough, nibbling about. You see that pace has dominated this whole (series) in the first three games."

Khawaja also spoke about the abuse Australian players have been receiving from the crowds. "Personally, if I am coming to the cricket and watching the cricket, I wouldn't want my kids to be around that.

"If I saw that I would 100 percent make a complaint or just leave. I think some of the stuff can be pretty poor. Over at Edgbaston they were calling Travis Head a c... you know what. I'm like I can't believe you can actually say that in a public domain anywhere.

“If you talk about it to England guys, they say we are equally as rough when (they go to Australia). I don't agree with it either way. I don't think it's the right thing to do. It can be a little disappointing at times, and I think we can take it too far in Australia. I'm not a big fan of it. 

“I know watching a lot of sport and loving sport that it happens around the world. You watch the NBA (and) it happens there. Particularly when crowds can get real close to you, which they can in cricket. It is what it is, I don't agree with it."

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