PAK vs AUS 2018: Leadership comes naturally to me, says Usman Khwaja 

Khwaja is the most capped player in the batting line up for Australia currently

Usman Khwaja | reuters

Usman Khwaja has said that Australia won't be short of any quality leadership in absence of Steve Smith and David Warner on its tour of United Arab Emirates and the upcoming home summer. The left-hander insisted, if the experienced members of the side, him being one, perform their responsibilities, the Tim Paine led side will be able to find its way through. 

Khwaja is the most capped batsman of the side, with 33 games at the highest level and says, that a sense of being the leader of the side comes naturally to him. His statement is quite relevant here for Australia is yet to name their Test vice-captain. 

"Other than the captain, who has got the biggest say in the team, I think the other guys who naturally like to lead will naturally just lead," Khawaja told, "With their actions, with their work – it just happens. You don't need to put a tag next to it – whether you're vice-captain or in the leadership group or whatever, it just happens."

"And we do have a lot of leaders in this team … a lot of state captains, a lot of guys who have done that sort of role. But at the end of the day it's about performing, too … because talk is cheap." he added. 

While there are important slots available, vice-captaincy being one, but Khawaja reiterated he isn't thinking along those lines because batting in Test Cricket at a difficult position of a no.3, has made him a responsible performer anyway. 

He said, "I'm not going to go out of my way to change anything, Even when I came back in the last couple of years I felt like a leader anyway; I've played as much cricket as Smith and Warner, not at Test level but at first-class level, we all grew up playing together." and added, "I've played as many games as anyone else in that team, in first-class cricket scored pretty much as many runs as a lot of the other guys."

"I always felt like it was my responsibility – especially batting at three, which is a lot of responsibility, with usually Dave up the top, then the captain (Smith), who is the best player in the world, coming in behind me – to make sure I'm doing what I need to do to make sure (Smith) gets the best opportunity to do what he needs to do, which is a really important role."

Khawaja also gave an insight into his plans for the challenge of batting in difficult conditions against the spin of Yasir Shah and co and said, "I expect the wickets will probably start off quite well in Dubai but will break up a fair bit and start turning. So it's different conditions and Yasir Shah has done really well in those conditions, and you've got to respect him for that."

The 2-match Test series starts on October 7. 


By Kashish Chadha - 25 Sep, 2018

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