SL vs AUS | Usman Khawaja ready for the Sri Lanka Test challenge

Vaibhav Tripathi

| Jun 26, 2022 2:21 PM

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Australian Test batter Usman Khawaja feels that the team is much better prepared after learning from past mistakes on subcontinent pitches as they take on Sri Lanka in the two-match Test series beginning in Galle on June 29.

When Australia toured Sri Lanka in 2016, they lost the three-match Test series by a margin of 3-0. Khawaja pointed out why Australia lost to Sri Lanka six years back in their previous series and what has significantly changed in his remarks before the opening Test match in Galle.

"I think we had three different plans for three different Test matches, which is not ideal," Usman Khawaja told on Sunday. 

"It's something that I addressed before we played in Pakistan to the group, just (speaking about) the experiences I've had. Because you do not necessarily need to go back and modify it if you have the correct method and the right game plan but fail to put them into action. Particularly on the subcontinent, where conditions can suddenly deteriorate and alter."

He said that last time they questioned their decisions a little too much, which was not ideal for the team.

"We probably did not do it sufficiently the first time in Sri Lanka. We probably questioned our decisions a little too much," Khawaja added.

Australia started the year pretty well after winning the Ashes series convincingly at home. They then defeated Pakistan in the historic three-match series. Khawaja believes that his teammates proved themselves in Pakistan. 

"We proved to ourselves in Pakistan that we had the game plan to do well in the subcontinent. This is one of the better teams of playing spin that I've been a part of with the Australian cricket team. I think we've learned from past mistakes, and the young guys coming in are learning from the older guys' mistakes," Khawaja added.

He insisted that it is important to give experience to the players and back them even if they fail occasionally. 

"I believe that the most important point is to give players experience and to teach them that they will fail occasionally when they are fresh. (However), if you truly believe they are the top players, you must stick with them. Because when they return the next time, and the moment after that, that is when they will start rewarding you."

Khawaja has been sublime since his Test return earlier this year when Travis Head was ruled out of the fourth Test of the Ashes at Sydney due to COVID-19. The 35-year-old cricketer impacted immediately by scoring twin tons in the drawn game.

And ever since his return, he has not looked back, scoring 751 runs at an average of 125 in nine innings, including four centuries. 

The opening Test at Galle will be a significant milestone for the Queenslander as it will be his 50th Test match in a career spanning over 11 years now.

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