Usman Khawaja considers playing without spectators vs India: The Australian batsman opened up on the prospect of playing behind closed doors.
Australia batsman Usman Khawaja has admitted that India were the better team during their last tour of Australia in 2018-19. Speaking in an interview with Fox Sports, Khawaja hailed the performances of India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and captain Virat Kohli.
“They were clearly the better team last time, we hung in there but [Cheteshwar] Pujara was outstanding and [Virat Kohli] Kohli led from the front as a captain. Their bowling unit was as good as I’ve ever seen an Indian bowling unit, they really went toe-to-toe with our bowlers,” Khawaja was quoted as saying by Fox Sports.
Having scored 521 runs at an average of 74.42 including three centuries and a half-century, Pujara had top-scored during the four-match Test series.
India, who are scheduled to travel to Australia this year as well, might face a tougher challenge this time round due to the presence of Australian batsmen in David Warner and Steven Smith.
“Our bowlers are still in great form, though, and this time Steve Smith and Davy [David] Warner will be in the side too,” Khawaja laid emphasis on Australia putting together an improved show later in the year.
Usman Khawaja considers playing without spectators vs India
With the novel COVID-19 pandemic taking over the world, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding upcoming fixtures. It was only last month that Cricket Australia were pondering about playing a five-match Test series against India without spectators at the same venue.
While Australia have already played an ODI against New Zealand behind closed doors at the SCG in March, the same is expected to happen with other teams as well in the near future. Being asked about the same, 33-year old Khawaja considered it to be an “advantage” for Australia.
“It’s definitely an advantage [playing behind closed doors]. I remember the last time they came over for a one-day series, the roar for India was much bigger.
“Especially in Melbourne, the amount of expats they have over there, they flock in. And when India’s on top they really let you know it. It’s a really weird feeling. When you’re in India, you expect to be outnumbered massively but you can be outnumbered in Melbourne, as well as Sydney to some extent also,” Khawaja said.
Usman Khawaja rates himself in the top six batsmen in Australia, despite missing out on a central contract. pic.twitter.com/Rgr8PqcF1U
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) May 4, 2020
Khawaja, who was recently eliminated from the list of contracted players by Cricket Australia, has joined the list of cricketers to be vocal on playing behind closed doors alongside Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, Australia spearhead Pat Cummins, veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh, Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq and veteran New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor.