19-Aug-2023 • 18 hrs ago
Khawaja ‘proud’ of Ashes achievement despite missing out on series win
Australia opener Usman Khawaja says he will keep playing Test cricket just as long as he continues to tick three crucial boxes.
It’s a case of so far, so good for the 36-year-old, who topped the Ashes batting aggregate across both sides in the recent 2-2 series draw in England that ensured Australia retained the urn.
Khawaja was asked at Cricket Australia’s Play Cricket Week campaign in Brisbane if the home Ashes series of 2025-26 was still in his sights.
“In 2025 … one series at a time I go with,” Khawaja grinned. “You can get ahead of yourself and look to that time [in 2025] and think, ‘I can probably get there’, but I don’t want to [do that].
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“I like playing one summer at a time and seeing how the body is going, how the mind is going and whether I am enjoying it. It is those three things. I am ticking those three boxes at the moment so I will keep playing.”
Khawaja has had a few weeks to reflect on this year’s thrilling Ashes series.
“I have had so many people come up to me and tell me how good the Test series was. So for cricket…cricket definitely won,” he said. “I’ve had more than 50 people tell me the last couple of weeks how much sleep they lost watching the Ashes.
“We would have loved to have won but we have now retained [or won] four Ashes series in a row…2019 and 2023 in England. The last time England won in Australia was 2010-11, when I debuted.
“So we’ve been dominating Ashes cricket for a long time and that is the bigger picture. England is going to have to come back here and beat us and do something they haven’t done for a very long time.”
Jess Jonassen and Usman Khawaja promoting Play Cricket Week•Cricket Australia
Australia play Pakistan and West Indies in the coming months, with Khawaja looking forward to opening alongside David Warner in what will be his good mate’s last summer of Test cricket. He said the future looked bright in the opening ranks, no matter who replaced Warner in Tests.
“Marcus Harris has been travelling with us a lot, everywhere we go. It would be remiss to think that he is not the next in line to open the batting for Australia,” Khawaja said.
“[In Queensland] Matt Renshaw has been around and playing some beautiful cricket, and scored a Test hundred in Sydney early on [in his career]. Then there’s the likes of Cameron Bancroft, who played really well too in WA and has played for Australia also.”
Khawaja said the Play Cricket Week initiative, which features approximately 150 high-profile cricketers around the country, was vital to encourage kids to take up the sport.
“Participation is the be-all and end-all for cricket,” Khawaja said. “It is great to see the young boys and now it is really exciting to see the females in participation. When I was younger it was very different. The amount of girls that come up to me these days and ask for an autograph is pretty cool.”
Usman KhawajaDavid WarnerAustraliaSheffield ShieldPakistan in Australia