Usman Khawaja has hit back at Ian Chappell in cheeky fashion, after the former Australia captain labelled him “a good player against mediocre bowling” in rubbishing his hopes of a Test recall.
Khawaja has long been rated as one of the most talented batters in Australia, and has a creditable Test record, with an average north of 40 from 44 appearances. He has also been one of the standout players in the Sheffield Shield this season, the leading run-scorer in the competition with an average of 79.
He has made two hundreds so far, but though his latest knock ended with him dismissed for 70, it might be his most significant statement yet. No other batter in the top eight made it into double figures, with his innings accounting for 54 per cent of his team’s runs.
However, Chappell, speaking back in October, explained how he felt Khawaja’s Shield returns didn’t carry much weight. In an interview with Wide World of Sports, he said, “I think everyone knows Usman Khawaja can make hundreds against that standard of bowling. But I’m not convinced that he’s going to make it against an England attack.
“I really think his horse has bolted. I’m not convinced that Khawaja is a good enough player… Khawaja’s a good player against mediocre bowling, but against good bowling I don’t think there’s much future there.”
Speaking before his half-century, Khawaja responded in spiky fashion.
“Everyone’s got opinions, that’s fine – to me it’s water off a duck’s back,” he said. “Chappelli’s not even the best player in his family, so if I’m going to take advice, I might take it from his younger brother, who I get along with very well too. GC (Greg Chappell) is a legend.
“I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. For me, it’s concentrating on one game at a time, (and) making sure I’m doing the right things for Queensland to win games. If I do that I know things will work out.”
Khawaja explained how adding to his tally of international caps is not the be all and end all.
“I’m in a really good spot,” he said. “I have a lovely family. I have a beautiful wife. I have a beautiful daughter. I’m really enjoying my life at the moment. I’ve got a lot of things to be grateful for.
“I’m still enjoying playing this game. It’s nice when you’re scoring runs. Cricket’s not an easy game. There are plenty of times when you don’t score runs, and there are times when you do, so when you do you try to cash in for your team.
“I’d love to play for Australia. If it does happen, great, if it doesn’t, I’ll still be out there giving my 100 per-cent for whoever I’m playing for, whether it’s Queensland or Thunder in the BBL. Nothing changes for me.”