Veteran Australian batsman Usman Khawaja has admitted on Monday (December 3) that he “loves to bat at No.3” but if team management would want him to open, even then he would be happy in the upcoming four-match Test series against India, starting from December 6 in Adelaide.
While Khawaja will be undoubtedly in the playing XI for the series opener in Adelaide, the 31-year-old is expecting to find himself with the willow at the number three or opening, as Marcus Harris and Peter Handscomb are the other options there to open along with Aaron Finch against India.
Reportedly, head coach Justin Langer is in favor of the Khawaja-Finch pair to open against India after their brilliant partnership in the UAE, while the left-hander wants to bat at No.3 only because it offers a little rest and little breather to put up pads on nice and easy.
Khawaja told RSN Breakfast Club, “The only thing it affects is how fast I have to run off the field. You only get 10 minutes as an opener, which is a pain in the arse. I love batting No.3 because you often get a little rest, a little breather, put your pads on nice and easy, watch the openers scurry off. But it doesn't make a difference whatsoever.”
He continued, “It's something that's not on my mind because it doesn't really bother me. I'm just training as I would (for) any other game, ready to get out there and play some cricket. I'm prepared to bat wherever I'm told to bat. I'm expecting it to be three or opening, but we have two openers in the side. At the moment (I think) it's three, but if they want me to open I'm happy to open.”
Khawaja signed off by saying, “When I was younger it was probably a little bit different. I was really stuck on No.3 because that's where I'd batted my whole life in first-class cricket. I was like, 'Nah, I'm a No.3, I have to bat No.3'. But as you get a bit older and you play a bit more cricket you realize there really isn't too much difference apart from a slight change of mindset.”
(With RSN Breakfast Club Inputs)