Khawaja not pressurised of being first Muslim in Oz team

London: New South Wales batsman Usman Khawaja has said that he does not feel being under any added pressure for being the first Muslim to get a chance to play for the Australian team.

Khawaja has been named in the Australian Test team to face Pakistan in two Tests in England.

Pakistani origin Australian citizen Khawaja was born in Islamabad and came to Australia aged four.

“No added pressure at all. Religion is a very personal thing to me and I only get judged by how I perform on the field, and that is all I can try to control,” Khawaja was quoted as saying.

Khawaja, who was named after a spot was opened up by a shoulder injury to Phil Hughes, further said that while growing up he had admired Brian Lara and Adam Gilchrist.

“Brian Lara and Adam Gilchrist were my favourite players. Lara for his ability to read game situations so well, and changing them in the space of five overs. I loved how he showed no fear. Similar with Gilchrist although having met him a few times I came to like the kind of person he was as well,” Khawaja said.

He further said that his first First Class hundred was the most memorable innings he has played in his short career.

“My first First Class hundred was special. I was coming into that game knowing I was struggling for the Blues so to come out with a hundred and my first one was very special to me,” Khawaja said.

Khawaja had been warming up for the tour by playing for Australia A in a four-day match series against Sri Lanka A, alongside fellow call-up Ben Hilfenhaus last month.

Australia Squad: Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Doug Bollinger, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Usman Khawaja, Marcus North, Steven Smith.



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