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Khawaja puts love of the game first

Australia middle-order batsman Usman Khawaja has revealed how rediscovering his love for the game has propelled him back into contention for Test honours.

Khawaja had things put into perspective for him over the course of a difficult year in international cricket being in and out of the Test XI.

The Queensland man now ranks playing for his state right up there with playing for his country as it allows him to do what he loves for a living.

Khawaja told the Sunday Mail: “I don’t put things on pedestals.

“I love playing for Queensland. I’m very fortunate to be captaining Queensland. When I’m doing that, I’m very happy and content.

“I’m not worrying about the other stuff that goes on. That will take care of itself and if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.

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“I just love playing cricket. Where I am right now, I’m very happy with how things are going. I’m enjoying it.

“When I was young all I wanted to do was be the best I can and play for Australia and do all that.

“The one major positive that came for myself when I moved to Queensland (in 2012) is I put all that stuff to the side. It’s part of growing up.

“Now all I care about is the team winning cricket games and whatever I can do to help that. That matters more so now that I’m captain.

“It’s a very fun way to play so I’m not going to stop doing that.”

The Queensland skipper is trying not to let the looming Ashes series distract him from his Sheffield Shield commitments.

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He added: “Absolutely, everyone wants to play in an Ashes series, there’s no doubt about that.

“We’ve also got a big game coming up against New South Wales so I can’t look too far ahead.

“There is a big four days coming up and I’d love to get another win. Once that is done, I can concentrate on whatever comes next.

“It’s good to start off with a couple of early wins to set the season up. Hopefully we can get another couple before Christmas.”