Usman Khawaja

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Usman Khawaja
A head and shoulders photograph of a man in cricket whites
Khawaja in January 2018
Personal information
Full name
Usman Khawaja
Born (1986-12-18) 18 December 1986 (age 37)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Height177[2] cm (5 ft 10 in)
BowlingRight-arm medium
RoleTop-order batter
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 419)3 January 2011 v England
Last Test3 Jan 2024 v Pakistan
ODI debut (cap 199)11 January 2013 v Sri Lanka
Last ODI6 July 2019 v South Africa
ODI shirt no.1
T20I debut (cap 80)31 January 2016 v India
Last T20I9 September 2016 v Sri Lanka
T20I shirt no.1
Domestic team information
2007/08–2011/12New South Wales
2011/12–2021/22Sydney Thunder
2016Rising Pune Supergiant
2021Islamabad United
2022/23- presentBrisbane Heat
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 73 40 203 130
Runs scored 5,451 1,554 14,145 5,319
Batting average 45.80 42.00 44.48 44.69
100s/50s 15/26 2/12 41/68 14/30
Top score 195* 104 214 166
Balls bowled 18 174
Wickets 0 1
Bowling average 111.00
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling 1/21
Catches/stumpings 53/– 13/– 153/– 46/–
Medal record
Men's Cricket
Representing  Australia
ICC World Test Championship
Winner 2021-2023
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 11 March 2024

Usman Tariq Khawaja (Urdu: عثمان خواجہ; born 18 December 1986) is an Australian cricketer who represents Australia national cricket team in Test cricket and Queensland. Khawaja made his first-class cricket debut for New South Wales in 2008 and played his first international match for Australia in January 2011. He has also played county cricket in the United Kingdom and briefly played in both the Indian Premier League and Pakistan Super League Twenty20 tournaments.

Khawaja was a member of the Australian team that won the 2021–2023 ICC World Test Championship. Furthermore, he was the second-highest scoring batsman in the 2021–2023 ICC World Test Championship with 1,621 runs, the highest by an Australian batsman. In 2023, he won the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year Award.[3][4]

Early and personal life[edit]

Usman was born in Islamabad, Pakistan, to Tariq Khawaja and Fozia Tariq. His family emigrated to New South Wales when he was four. He became the first Australian of Pakistani origin to represent Australia in cricket when he made his debut in the 2010–11 Ashes series. He is a qualified commercial and instrument-rated pilot, completing a bachelor's degree in aviation from the University of New South Wales before he made his Test debut. He attained his basic pilot licence before his driving licence.[5] He was educated at Westfields Sports High School.

Usman Khawaja announced his engagement on 14 December 2016 on his Facebook page.[6] and subsequently married his wife Rachel on 6 April 2018.[7] Rachel Khawaja (née McLellan) converted to Islam prior to their wedding.[7] Khawaja is a dual Australian and Pakistani citizen.[8]


In December 2023, during a training session for Australia's first test match of the series against Pakistan, Khawaja wore shoes on which the words "All lives are equal" and "freedom is a human right" were written in the colours of the Palestinian flag.[9] The ICC warned Khawaja that it would sanction him if he continued to wear the shoes. During the first test match against Pakistan at Perth, he covered the writing on his shoes with tape and wore black armbands. The ICC ruled that the wearing of black armbands breached its clothing and equipment regulations.[10][11][12][13] Khawaja stated that he "respect[s] the ICC and the rules and regulations" and will request the ICC apply "consistency in how they officiate".[14][15] [16]

Khawaja made a post on Instagram using the hashtags “#inconsistent and #doublestandards,” in which he pointed out several examples of other cricketers with symbols on their bats, such as ‘Om’ sticker for a Hindu player, or Bible verses and crosses for others.[17]

In response to Khawaja's issues with the ICC, former cricketer and commentator Michael Holding denounced the ICC for "hypocrisy and lack of moral standing," for allowing the players to "take the knee for Black Lives Matter" and having their stumps covered with LGBTQ colours.[14][15][18] Australia captain Pat Cummins also defended Khawaja, stating that "We really support Uzzy. He's standing up for what he believes and I think he's done it really respectfully."[19]

Domestic and T20 career[edit]

Khawaja in 2011

A left-handed top order batsman, Khawaja was awarded Player of the Australian Under-19 Championship in 2005 and also played for Australia in the 2006 U-19 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka as an opening batsman.

He made his first-class debut for the New South Wales Blues in 2008.[20] In the same year, he hit consecutive double centuries for the NSW Second XI—a feat never before achieved by a NSW player.[21] On 22 June 2010 it was announced by Cricket Australia that Usman Khawaja would be a part of the Australian touring squad to play Pakistan in a two Test series in England.

From 2011 to February 2022,[22] Khawaja played for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League. In BBL05, he was the second highest run scorer, scoring 345 runs at an average of 172.50.

Khawaja signed a contract to play for county side Derbyshire in the 2011 English domestic season.[23] He played in four County Championship matches, averaging 39.87 with the bat and scoring a century (135) against Kent.[24][25] After his county stint, he made five further Test appearances in 2011, scoring one half-century (65) against South Africa. He was dropped from Australia's Test team after the home series against New Zealand, making way for Shaun Marsh upon Marsh's return from injury.[26]

Lancashire signed Khawaja as an overseas player for the 2014 county season for all formats. Khawaja scored 86 runs on his debut against Durham but in vain as Lancashire lost by 27 runs.

He plays club cricket for Valley District Cricket Club in Brisbane.

In August 2015, Khawaja was appointed as captain of the Queensland cricket team, replacing previous captain James Hopes.[27]

In April 2018, he was signed by Glamorgan County Cricket Club to play in the 2018 Vitality Blast tournament in England.[28] In April 2021, he was signed by Islamabad United to play the rescheduled matches in the 2021 Pakistan Super League.[29]

In February 2022, Khawaja opted out of his contract with the Sydney Thunder, citing "family reasons".[22]

On the 29th of June 2022, Khawaja was signed by the Brisbane Heat and appointed captain for the upcoming Big Bash season.[30]

International career[edit]

Khawaja was selected as part of the 17-man Australian squad for the 2010–11 Ashes series. During the third Test, Ricky Ponting fractured his finger and Khawaja was named as a stand-by if Ponting could not recover in time. He was subsequently selected in the Australian cricket team to play in the fifth Test against England in Sydney on 3 January 2011.[31][32] On 3 January 2011, Khawaja became the 419th Australian to be presented with an Australian Cricket Test baggy green cap. Khawaja became the first Muslim and first Pakistani-born Australian player to play Test cricket for Australia,[33][34] and only the seventh foreign-born cricketer to do so in the last 80 years.[35]

Before the third Test against India in March 2013, Australia suspended Khawaja, along with James Pattinson, Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson following a breach of discipline.[36] Michael Clarke, the captain, revealed that the step had been taken as a result of repeated infractions which led to Watson flying back home and contemplating Test retirement.[37] Some former players reacted with astonishment at the decision taken by the team management.[38] Khawaja made his Test return in the second Test of the 2013 Ashes series, replacing Ed Cowan.

In the first Test against New Zealand on 5 November 2015; his first Test in more than two years, he scored his maiden Test century, scoring 174 runs with 16 fours and 2 sixes. He made this return in his tenth Test in the coveted number 3 position, helping Australia to an emphatic victory.[39]

He made his Twenty20 International debut for Australia against India on 31 January 2016.[40]

During the 2015–16 season, Khawaja was in spectacular form for Australia and his domestic T20 franchise the Sydney Thunder, with many pundits hailing his renaissance as a batsman since being dropped from the Australian team in 2013 and recovering from an injury in 2015. He also switched to using Kookaburra equipment.[41]

Additionally, Khawaja set a record for becoming the first ever batsman to score a Test century in an innings of a Day-Night Test match on home soil and still has the record for the second highest individual score in a Day-Night Test innings.[citation needed]

Khawaja celebrates after scoring a century against South Africa in Adelaide (2016).

Khawaja played his first Test match against the country of his birth, Pakistan, on 15 December 2016 at the Gabba. When asked about the significance of the match, he described a moment of confusion outside the change rooms:

Funnily enough I was waiting downstairs and I needed the change room locker to be opened for us and I was just waiting and the Queensland Cricket lady came down. She was like 'Oh, you need the locker rooms open?' I went 'yes please' and she started walking to the Pakistani change room. I was like, 'No, I'm that way, thank you'.[42]

In January 2017, Khawaja dabbed in celebration of his half-century scored in a Test match against Pakistan in Sydney. His move received mixed reactions, with some praising it, while others accused him of disrespecting his opponents.[43]

In April 2018, he was awarded a national contract by Cricket Australia for the 2018–19 season.[44][45] He played a match saving innings against Pakistan in the first Test in 2018 at Dubai.

In April 2019, he was named in Australia's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.[46][47] In Australia's final group-stage match, against South Africa, Khawaja picked up a hamstring injury, ruling him out of the rest of the tournament. Matthew Wade was named as cover for him.[48]

In July 2019, he was named in Australia's squad for the 2019 Ashes series in England.[49][50] In the series, he returned the scores of 13, 40, 36, 2, 8 and 23, failing to convince.[51] Therefore, for the fourth Ashes Test, Steve Smith replaced Khawaja after returning from concussion, while Marnus Labuschagne retained his place in the side.[52]

On 16 July 2020, Khawaja was named in a 26-man preliminary squad of players to begin training ahead of a possible tour to England following the COVID-19 pandemic.[53][54] He was not included in the final squad for the tour.

Comeback to international cricket[edit]

In January 2022, Khawaja made a comeback to international cricket after a long hiatus, in the 4th Ashes Test at SCG; and made twin centuries in the match, posting scores of 137 and 101* respectively.[55]

Khawaja was then selected for the Australian tour of Pakistan. He was the highest run scorer in the series scoring 496 runs at an average of 165.33, a performance which earned him player of the series.[56] He scored 97 runs in the first innings of the first test. He then scored 160 runs in the first innings of the second test and 44* in the second innings. In the first innings of the third test, he scored 91 followed by 104* in the second innings, helping Australia win the final match of the series and as such the series as a whole.[57]

In January 2023, in the third Test against South Africa, he completed his 4000 Test runs,[58] and struck his career-best 195 runs.[59] Khawaja capped off his return to international cricket by picking up the Shane Warne Test Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal ceremony, ahead of Travis Head and Steve Smith. Khawaja was also awarded the Community Impact Award at the same event.[60]

2023 Ashes[edit]

Khawaja proved his mettle of scoring prowess as he was the leading run scorer during the five-match Ashes series with 496 runs and helped Australia to retain the Ashes after the series ending in 2-2.[61][62] Khawaja made a statement in the first Ashes test at Edgbaston by scoring his first test century in England soil during Australia's first innings and finally was dismissed for 141 off 321 deliveries after being set up by a bamboozling yorker delivery from Ollie Robinson as the latter eventually gave him an aggressive sendoff indicating Khawaja being the main resistance for England's possible opportunity of winning the first test.[63][64] Khawaja was also triggered by interesting field placement strategy deployed by England captain Ben Stokes which made him to throw his wicket away possibly at a critical juncture of the match. Khawaja again made runs in the second innings which was critically important in the context of the match where Australia were set a challenging target of 282. He frustrated the English opponents with his old school style of playing test cricket by scoring 65 off 197 deliveries before being clean bowled by Stokes when he attempted to play a shot which edged his bat and castled the stumps. His innings eventually sealed the deal for Australia as the visitors won the closely fought contest by margin of 2 wickets courtesy of late cameos from skipper Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.[65] He was awarded the player of the match for his batting heroics in the first test which guided Australia to take an early lead in the Ashes series 1-0 thereby having a psychological advantage over the home side. Khawaja also set a new milestone for becoming only the second Australian batsman ever in test history to bat in all five days and became only the thirteenth man overall to bat on each day of a five-day test match.[66]

However, despite his rich vein of during the entirety of Ashes he also found himself for all the wrong reasons especially for his involvement in the confrontation with members of Marylebone Cricket Club in the Lord's pavilion during the second match of the series in wake of aftermath the infamous runout of Jonny Bairstow which was a huge talking point throughout the Ashes series.[67] Khawaja further lashed out at the behaviour of the MCC members calling their behaviour to be disrespectful.[68] He alongside his opening partner David Warner had engaged in an heated exchange with MCC members as the Australians went to their dressing room at lunch session.

Khawaja made stunning revelations about the 2023 Ashes crowd where he insisted that “the crowd this time was far worse than anything I’ve experienced” pointing out to the constant abuse and derogatory slurs, remarks he received from the English crowd and lashed out at the crowd for treating him with disdain as he vented his frustrations to Wisden Cricket Monthly in an exclusive interview.[69] He further elaborated that certain people in the crowd brought about his past failures and struggles in English conditions when he was part of Aussies side in 2013 and 2019 for the Ashes series down under. He also pointed out that majority of the English crowd made remarks saying “you’re crap, you’re shit, you’re useless, you can’t score runs here” despite him being in the form of his life for the past eighteen odd months scoring bulk of runs in test cricket.[70] He also expressed his grief over the fact that he is being taken for granted by certain fans for his politeness whereas he also compared English cricket crowd with that of rowdy football crowd highlighting the aggression and abuse hurled at him during the Ashes series.[69][71]

Khawaja ended up rectifying his abysmal track record in English conditions by aggregating a tally of 496 runs in the five-match series including as he made the most out of the opportunity cashing in on by letting his bat do the talk eventually silencing his critics who were bragging about Khawaja's poor record in England.[72][73] His old school cricket style was compared to that of England's opening batsman Zak Crawley with the latter making 480 runs with Bazball styled approach by scoring runs in brisk pace without consuming too many dot deliveries.


International centuries[edit]

Khawaja has scored 15 centuries in Test matches and two in One Day Internationals. His highest Test score of 195* came against South Africa at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney in January 2023 and his highest ODI score of 104 came against India at JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi in March 2019.

Test centuries[edit]

List of Test centuries scored by Usman Khawaja[74]
No. Score Opponent Venue Date Result Ref
1 174  New Zealand The Gabba, Brisbane 5 November 20151 Won [75]
2 121  New Zealand WACA Ground, Perth 13 November 2015 Drawn [76]
3 144  West Indies Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne 26 December 2015 Won [77]
4 140  New Zealand Basin Reserve, Wellington 12 February 2016 Won [78]
5 145  South Africa Adelaide Oval, Adelaide 24 November 2016 Won [79]
6 171  England Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney 12 January 2018 Won [80]
7 141  Pakistan Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai 7 October 2018 Drawn [81]
8 101*  Sri Lanka Manuka Oval, Canberra 1 February 2019 Won [82]
9 137  England Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney 5 January 2022 Drawn [83]
10 101*
11 160  Pakistan National Stadium, Karachi 12 March 2022 Drawn [84]
12 104*  Pakistan Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore 21 March 2022 Won [85]
13 195*  South Africa Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney 4 January 2023 Drawn [86]
14 180  India Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad 10 March 2023 Drawn [87]
15 141  England Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham 16 June 2023 Won [87]

One Day International centuries[edit]

List of ODI centuries scored by Usman Khawaja[88]
No. Score Opponent Venue Date Result Ref
1 104  India JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi 8 March 2019 Won [89]
2 100  India Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi 13 March 2019 Won [90]


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External links[edit]