Usman Khawaja believes his epic century to guide Australia to an heroic draw in the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai is proof that he works just as hard to improve his game as anyone else.
Khawaja batted for 524 minutes, the second-longest fourth innings in the history of all Tests, hitting 141 off 302 balls as Australia batted out 140 overs to end on 352/8 and deny Pakistan victory.
It was a significant Test for Khawaja, who also scored 85 in the first innings, as his previous highest score in a Test in Asia was 30 and he had weakness against spin bowling on slow pitches.
The left-hander has also had to fend off suggestions that he is not a hardworker in training to go with the natural talent that he possesses.
After his heriocs in Dubai, Khawaja told reporters: “A lot of work goes into playing cricket at the highest level, I’ve worked as hard as anyone, I’ve worked my backside off for the last 10 years of first-class cricket, day in, day out.
“People think because of my relaxed nature that’s not the case, that I’ve been gifted to be able to get to where I am, but it’s not the case at all.
“I’ve worked my absolute backside off for the last 10 years and really worked as hard as I can in different conditions like this and in England and other places.
That sort of stuff goes … people overlook that sort of stuff and you don’t get to play at the highest level without putting in the hard yards. There’s no secret to success, it’s all about hard work.
“I’m just grateful to be out there playing for Australia and getting a hundred for Australia really.”
Now the most senior batsman in the Australia Test team due to the suspensions of David Warner and Steve Smith, Khawaja hopes the tourists can take momentum with them into the second and final Test of the series that starts in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
He continued: “To just bat that long of a period in Asia let alone… it’s a bit different than at the Gabba, it’s probably a nicer wicket on day five than out there.
“It’s a lot of credit to a lot of the guys, shows a lot of guts, shows a lot of courage to do something like that. Hopefully we can take that into the next game.”
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