Infotainment Factory: Khawaja's blunt takedown of cricket legends

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Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Khawaja's blunt takedown of cricket legends


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Usman Khawaja has suggested that former Australian greats are out of touch with modern batting and their criticisms of new-age stroke play come from ignorance of how T20 cricket is played.

Khawaja's riposte followed Mark Waugh's criticism of excessive movement at the crease from Australian players, including Glenn Maxwell, while Andrew Symonds declared "that's not on" after a Marcus Stoinis reverse sweep against India in Wednesday's opening T20.

As India made an aggressive start to their 10 runs per-over chase, Khawaja had an intriguing exchange with FOX Sports host and legendary Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist.

Gilchrist remarked that such a target run-rate would have been a "psyche-out" during his era but clearly wasn't now. Khawaja - more noted as a long-form batsman but also an excellent limited-overs player - had a blunt response.

"It’s expected. You train for it, you play for it, you do it all the time,” he said.

"I hear you guys talking a lot about the classic cricket shots. The game’s changing, guys, we do play different shots now.

"The bowlers are getting better, they’re getting smarter, they’re putting in better fields, so as batsmen, we need to adapt a little bit.

"A lot of the old traditionalists don’t like the reverse sweeps, the paddles. But sometimes, they’re the little risks you have to take to bring in those classic cricket shots.

"The game has evolved a fair bit from where it [was] and sometimes it does look ugly when it doesn’t come [off], but when it does, everybody loves it and that’s the entertainment of T20 cricket."

Gilchrist then asked if players of his era were being too harsh on current players for their shot selection in limited-overs cricket.

"The basics are still the same," Khawaja said.

"Good shots are still good shots but as the game evolves, bowlers set different fields and you sort of know what they’re going to do, but at the same time, there’s a bit of bluff going on too that you don’t realise. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, that the game has evolved.

"The game has changed a bit in the last 10 or so years. That’s no disrespect to guys of your era, excellent players.

"You can only sort of go on what you play on, but the game’s evolving and unless you’re playing it and you’re a part of it, you do feel like sometimes there is a bit of a disconnect with what the players are trying to achieve and what the outside world, especially traditionalists and former players, are sort of seeing."

Gilchrist replied: "I like you said that we were good players, so we'll end it there!"

The very next ball, Indian batsman Rohit Sharma played an improvised ramp/pull shot off big Aussie paceman Billy Stanlake.

"See: no one would have done that 10, 15 years ago," Khawaja said, though he did name one pioneer of the hyper-aggressive style.

"When Ryan Campbell started doing it the first time when I was a youngster, I was like, 'Oh my God, what are you doing?'

"But it's becoming more of a norm, [especially] so in the power play. It's one of those things, you see fine leg up and you do that, and the bowler's like, 'Oh boy, what do I do?' He puts fine leg back and there's a gap open somewhere else."

Khawaja confirmed during his appearance that he hoped to play Queensland's next Sheffield Shield game and expected to be fit and ready for the first Test against India next month.

Usman Khawaja has suggested that former Australian greats are out of touch with modern batting and their criticisms of new-age stroke play come from ignorance of how T20 cricket is played.

Khawaja's riposte followed Mark Waugh's criticism of excessive movement at the crease from Australian players, including Glenn Maxwell, while Andrew Symonds declared "that's not on" after a Marcus Stoinis reverse sweep against India in Wednesday's opening T20.

As India made an aggressive start to their 10 runs per-over chase, Khawaja had an intriguing exchange with FOX Sports host and legendary Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist.

Gilchrist remarked that such a target run-rate would have been a "psyche-out" during his era but clearly wasn't now. Khawaja - more noted as a long-form batsman but also an excellent limited-overs player - had a blunt response.

"It’s expected. You train for it, you play for it, you do it all the time,” he said.

"I hear you guys talking a lot about the classic cricket shots. The game’s changing, guys, we do play different shots now.

"The bowlers are getting better, they’re getting smarter, they’re putting in better fields, so as batsmen, we need to adapt a little bit.

"A lot of the old traditionalists don’t like the reverse sweeps, the paddles. But sometimes, they’re the little risks you have to take to bring in those classic cricket shots.

"The game has evolved a fair bit from where it [was] and sometimes it does look ugly when it doesn’t come [off], but when it does, everybody loves it and that’s the entertainment of T20 cricket."

Gilchrist then asked if players of his era were being too harsh on current players for their shot selection in limited-overs cricket.

"The basics are still the same," Khawaja said.

"Good shots are still good shots but as the game evolves, bowlers set different fields and you sort of know what they’re going to do, but at the same time, there’s a bit of bluff going on too that you don’t realise. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, that the game has evolved.

"The game has changed a bit in the last 10 or so years. That’s no disrespect to guys of your era, excellent players.

"You can only sort of go on what you play on, but the game’s evolving and unless you’re playing it and you’re a part of it, you do feel like sometimes there is a bit of a disconnect with what the players are trying to achieve and what the outside world, especially traditionalists and former players, are sort of seeing."

Gilchrist replied: "I like you said that we were good players, so we'll end it there!"

The very next ball, Indian batsman Rohit Sharma played an improvised ramp/pull shot off big Aussie paceman Billy Stanlake.

"See: no one would have done that 10, 15 years ago," Khawaja said, though he did name one pioneer of the hyper-aggressive style.

"When Ryan Campbell started doing it the first time when I was a youngster, I was like, 'Oh my God, what are you doing?'

"But it's becoming more of a norm, [especially] so in the power play. It's one of those things, you see fine leg up and you do that, and the bowler's like, 'Oh boy, what do I do?' He puts fine leg back and there's a gap open somewhere else."

Khawaja confirmed during his appearance that he hoped to play Queensland's next Sheffield Shield game and expected to be fit and ready for the first Test against India next month.

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