“Toughest Place In The World To Bat”, Usman Khawaja On England Pitches

Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja(Image: ICC)

Australia opener Usman Khawaja feels that pitches in England are the ultimate Test for top-three batters to play. Khawaja also states that the only way to train for the conditions there is to work really hard and have very low expectations.

Usman Khawaja On England Pitches

Khawaja who played 60 Tests for Australia scored 4495 runs which includes 14 centuries and 21 half centuries. But the batter has struggling innings in English conditions, averaging just 19.66 from six Tests, which is a below-average showing from him given that he has scored an amazing 1,608 runs at 69.91 in 16 Tests since he was recalled to the Test side in January last year.

Usman Khawaja is expected to be the key player for Australia in both WTC 2023 Final against India and the subsequent five-Test Ashes series in England.

“England is, in my opinion, the toughest place in the world to bat for a top three batsman, plain and simple,” Khawaja was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au here.

“New ball is tough work, but then you get some (weather) conditions, and it’s a bit of luck involved in it, too; sometimes you get the other team out, then suddenly the clouds roll over… other times you’re out there and it’s nice and sunny.” He indicated that with the changing weather conditions, batting on England pitches was a gamble and that one needs to grab the opportunities if they present themselves.

“If I’ve learned anything, it’s work hard, train hard, (and) if you’re going to England, go with low expectations, and then just work on every game one at a time, because you are going to fail as a batsman. But when you do score, you try to cash in as much as you can,” said the batting stalwart.

The Oval Cricket Stadium
The Oval Cricket Stadium

Australia will play India in the WTC final at The Oval in London from June 7, before the Ashes commence on June 16 in Birmingham. The Australians under skipper Pat Cummins will look to clinch their maiden series triumph in England since 2001.

Khawaja had played three Ashes Tests each on the 2013 and 2019 tours. He was, however, axed before the end of both series.

Khawaja Praises Anderson and Broad

Though the veteran cricketer feels he is a much-improved player than he was a decade ago, he believes there is no surety when facing England bowling stalwarts James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Stuart Broad (left) with James Anderson
Stuart Broad (left) with James Anderson

“I feel like I’m a better player than I was 10 years ago. I have more experience than I did back then. But… there’s no guarantees — Anderson, Broad, they’re unbelievable bowlers, they’re tough work at the start.

“I guess the other side is, that’s what makes it so awesome when you do score runs and you contribute to a winning team — which hopefully I’ll do, and others will do over there — when you do it against guys like Broad and Anderson in England, it’s just that much more satisfying.”