Khawaja: I take my cricket very seriously

Australia

Australia batsman Usman Khawaja has refuted the assumption that he is a lazy player and doesn't work as hard as others, saying that he may be relaxed on the outside, but his mind is always thinking about the game.

Australia batsman Usman Khawaja has refuted the assumption that he is a lazy player and doesn't work as hard as others, saying that he may be relaxed on the outside, but his mind is always thinking about the game.

Khawaja has often come under fire for lazy dismissals, and despite his big talent, has failed to stamp his authority in the national team, averaging just 25 over nine Tests and still lacking a century.

Khawaja told <i>Cricinfo</i>: "I work as hard as everyone else on and off the field. I put everything into cricket. I think at time when I was younger there were times when my standards in some places weren't up to scratch and I learnt that quick.

"Now I make sure that I tick all the boxes, do what I need to do to be in the best state that I can be to win cricket games for my team.

"I think sometimes my relaxed nature and the way I go about things just rubs people the wrong way. I can't help it. When I'm batting and I'm doing stuff, things in my head is going a million miles an hour. When I'm doing stuff it's all going quickly.

"But my exterior is a lot different to what's happening in my head, so I think sometimes people take me in the wrong way if they don't know me well enough. It's something I fought a lot when I was younger but I think when people get to know me they see the real me."

One incident that didn't help his image what the Homework Saga in India, where four players failed to complete the task set by then-coach Mickey Arthur, and were dropped for the next Test.

Khawaja said that matter was handles poorly by the top brass, and that it was actually unclear when the assignment had been due. He said that if the players had been clear on that, no-one would have failed to complete the task.

He said: "It wasn't fun. It was quite a horrible time to be honest. It was disappointing because I knew I was pretty much going to be playing in that Test match, I hadn't officially been told, but I was in.

"It was just disappointing how it worked out. I don't think the communication was strong enough. Firstly I wasn't sure … I thought it was due before the next Test match.

"If someone said to me, look, you've got to hand this in by Sunday, or else you're not playing the next Test match, then I promise you, not one person would not hand it in. They'd all hand it in.

"So there was a bit of communication error. I'm not saying I'm not totally at fault – I should probably listen harder. But it was very disappointing how it was all handled."

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