Very few people would give up a career as a qualified pilot to pursue their passion in sport. Usman Khawaja can be classified as such a rarity. Born in Pakistan, Khawaja became the first Muslim cricketer to have been selected in the Australian national team.
Migrating from Pakistan at a very young age, Khawaja first picked up the tricks of the trade at Randwick Petersham, a club on the outskirts of New South Wales. He made his first-class debut for New South Wales against Victoria at the age of 22. He scored a masterly 85, batting with the tail where he displayed maturity beyond his age. A fine left-handed batsman, Khawaja is blessed with a rock solid defence and displays good footwork. He is equally adept at playing spin and fast bowling.
Khawaja finished the 2008-09 domestic season at an average of 42.61 and started 2009-10 with three centuries in the Sheffield Shield tournament. He earned his Test call-up in 2010 against Pakistan in England. Many have questioned if a player who has just completed two years in domestic cricket should be thrown at the deep end. However, Australian selectors insisted that he has the technique to make it to the big stage. Sceptics, however label him in the Test mould. Khawaja, in his defence, believes he is flexible enough to mould himself in all three formats of the game.