A thing of Usman

The SCG put on a beautiful day for Usman Khawaja’s debut.

Rain and dank filled the ground as Usman came out after lunch, then he clipped one for two and smashed one for four, and the ground was still dank as, but happier.

Usman only played 6 or so really classy shots.

He only scored 37.

He never scored in front of square.

He showed that he might play across his front pad a bit and can be squared up.

He also got out just when Australia needed him.

But, there was something about him.

Whether it was the first two shots, the fact that Australia had picked an inform young batsmen who didn’t look like a technical mess, the home crowd thing, the whole asian/muslim thing, or that he made runs while others couldn’t, it didn’t seem to matter, people liked him.

His technical flaws are the sort of small flaws that he can survive with if he works hard.  He will score in front of square against a team that pitches up. He will score more than 37. He looked like the best batsman Australia had today.  He has more than a few classy shots left in him.

The ground never got any less dank the whole time he batted; he was on and off twice while he was out there.  His runs didn’t light up the SCG; they just seemed to make Aussie fans happy

His composure and calmness made a mockery of Australia’s top order throughout the series.  He looked like he belonged more than most.

In his first knock in Shield cricket he made 85 run out, against Victoria, it’s fair to say he handles pressure fairly well.

That innings should have pissed me off, but I liked him then, have liked him since, loved his blog piece on being mistaken for a Pakistani cricketer, and loved how he went about it today.

Sometimes you feel you can jinx a young player you like, but I can’t help it, I like his vibe, and to paraphrase a random tweet put up on the big screen by some telecommunications cartel that was ripped off from my man Keatsy, I hope he stays a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

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14 thoughts on “A thing of Usman

  1. Rosh says:

    Hey mate, have you got a link to his blog?

  2. steve says:

    New year, new day, new captain, new debutantes – same old failures.

    You know how far Australian cricket has fallen when a debut of a mere 37 is being hailed as a success and as a ray of light.

  3. Dave says:

    He reminds me of Matthew Hayden, same look and technique (apart from the body shape of course)…

    A promising debut for sure

  4. nathan says:

    A very good player, BUT, an Australian team in recent times without Ponting is a sad sight. Good luck to Usman, but young man, you have big boots to fill – Pontings. A true great is Ricky Ponting.

  5. Christopher says:

    I predicted he’d get a century after seeing him presented with his baggy green, the contrast with Xavier Doherty when he received his was staggering. I missed Beer get his but they said on TV that e looked nervous as shit too. Only 37 but you can’t help feeling that Ponting would have got out for less than 10.

  6. matt says:

    He got out stupidly but it was a very promising debut and as an Englishman he seemed to me (along with Hussey) to be the most comfortable Aus batsmen at the crease this series. Played and missed a few times but big deal. With all the other top order Ive always felt it was just a matter of time for us to get a wicket. He looked like he belonged there.

  7. Vim says:

    Rosh, he’s at cricket australia and the NSW site.

  8. Vim says:

    As it’s his first innings, no point in getting het up at him not getting many runs, Steve. Mike Hussey’s first test was a real nothing as was Alan Border’s.

    I like how calm he looks. He’s looked like that his whole career, I’m sure.

  9. If you are looking for //s, what about A.A. Jackson – the purely positive ones of course. Besides the more obvious ones, there is a connection with first balls after lunch and maybe even their dismissal in their first tests …
    TM

  10. Lolly says:

    Looked technically ok as well as calm, that is why we have warmed to him.

    After watching Hughes and Smith look like walking wickets – they move about at the crease continually – not to mention Punter in the horrors, a batsman who isn’t Mike Hussey looking reasonably calm and assured was some sort of gift.

    Our standards are in the toilet But I like what I have seen.

  11. He needs to be given some time to mature in the international arena. he is not gonna become an overnight sensation…but i agree….don’t see how Ponting could have made even half of the runs Khawaja scored…

  12. Chris Weston says:

    Jebus, some of the headlines I’ve seen made me re-check the scorecard. Most of them suggest he scored a hundred at a run-a-ball, then opened the bowling and took a hat-trick, the last being a diving catch off his own bowling during which he managed to knee KP in the bollocks whilst in mid-air.

    What actually happened is that he made a confident, if chancy, 37. The flashing, uppish strokes between slip and gully could be put down to nerves, or just impatience.

    Don’t get me wrong, he looks talented, and most important of all, he looks like he’s got the attitude to prosper, but the reaction from the press is in the ‘over’ category.

  13. Chris says:

    Little known fact. Usman is the first Muslim Australian cricketer to go out for 37. Still, he looked better than Ponting out there, so hopefully he will be the first Muslim to play 2 tests back-to-back for Australia.

  14. The Pav says:

    I wish people would forget the Muslim thing. It’s not the least bit relevant to his cricket.

    It’s time to move on.

    A few years ago while scoring a District game in Perth after about four overs the penny dropped. Both our opening bowlers were Muslim and nobody thought about until I mentioned it. Then it was a case of Oh.yeah…so what.” reaction from everybody and a return to conversation about whether they were bowling well or not

    There were only ywo things really to note. They got tired during Ramadan and one of the guys mother made the best every curry puffs for afternoon tea. The latter being the most relevant & interesting fact

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