Bengaluru, September 11: Having played 33 Tests thus far, Usman Khawaja is the most experienced batsman in the Australia squad announced on Tuesday (September 11) for the series against Pakistan in UAE. He pipped Shaun Marsh (32 Tests) by a solitary match and this will be a test of fire for the Queensland cricketer.
In his sojourns to Asia so far, Khawaja has failed to master spinners and pitches that afford spin averaging just 14.62 - a stark contrast to his average at home - 59.
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But Khawaja, who is in Bengaluru as part of the Australia A squad, has showed some promise notching up 101 and 127 against India B and A during the last couple of weeks. And the left-hander said he has been working on his batting in his effort to tame the sub-continent conditions.
"I have been working on my batting for 3-4 years now but nothing specific for this tour (India A). When I was in England I was batting in seam friendly wickets in county cricket and I felt comfortable there. And on couple of matches I encountered pitches where the ball was tuning massively. Probably, I changed my mindset a bit and gave myself more options to score in recent years.
"In Australia it's different (batting), but in the sub-continent - there's the rough to negotiate and the spinners come into play. Yes, I have prepared for the last 3 or 4 years for the sub-continent conditions and turning tracks. To a certain extent, T20 cricket, the white ball cricket help you for that because I played some amount of cricket here and I need to transform that into longer form of cricket now," said Khawaja.
Khawaja said a player needed to keep his game simple while batting in the sub-continent.
"I have played quite a few cricket in the sub-continent, including Test matches and in the IPL (for Rising Pune Super Giants). It is always good for a player to play in different conditions and these are very different from what we get at home. Here the outfield has also been quick and it's always feel nice to get runs in the sub-continent because it is not an easy task. Cricket is a bizarre game and you need to keep things simple in it. This is first-class cricket and there is no such things as easy runs," said Khawaja.
Khawaja said the biggest gain from a trip to sub-continent was the chance to learn to bat in pressure situations.
When you play in these conditions (for Australia A) it helps you to learn a lot of things like playing under pressure situations. You can bat as much as you want at nets but the game time is always different and feel nice. That's what you gain on trips to sub-continent," he said.