Australian batsman and one of the victims of the infamous ‘homeworkgate’ saga during India’s 2013 series, Usman Khawaja, has castigated team management on that tour saying “their priorities were a bit wrong”, and the side made more concerned about checking boxes than actually doing well in the series. After two heavy defeats against India in Chennai and Hyderabad, Khawaja was looking forward to his debut in the Third Test at Mohali when he was called up to meet then captain Michael Clarke, coach Mickey Arthur and team manager Gavin Dovey.
The Pakistani-born cricketer, then 26, was suspended for one match along with three others – James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson – for failing to complete a coach-assigned ‘homework’.
The players were instructed to answer questions in writing about ways to improve the team’s performance, and the four failed to submit their answers in time.
Recalling the episode on the eve of the first test in Nagpur, Khawaja said: “Our priorities were a little bit wrong at the time. We were more concerned with the things players had to tick off, rather than basically ‘hey, are we a skilled team.” The cricketer, who has since cemented his place in the Test side, said it left a bitter taste in his mouth and he never wanted to be part of the Australian dressing room.
With Khawaja on the verge of playing his first test in India after coming so close in 2013, he said coach Arthur was trying to prioritize everything at the time apart from being better rivals on the pitch.
“All the coaching and support staff with Mickey (Arthur) at the top tried to focus on everything else, but that wasn’t the reason we lost,” Khawaja told the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday.
He added that India were more skillful than Australia at the time, which is why the visitors lost all four Tests in the series.
“At that point we weren’t a more skilled team than India, and that’s why we lost. We didn’t lose because we weren’t fitter than them, we didn’t lose because we weren’t a better fielding team.” than them, we just weren’t as skilled as they (India) were.” Khawaja said that after the incident, the feeling he got in the dressing room was that he was an “outsider”.
“It was hard enough for a new guy to fit into the team. And when something like that happens it just made you feel like you were more of an outsider.” Khawaja said he wasn’t sure he wanted to be in the same environment when he returned to the side. But since then he has hardened himself and become a much stronger cricketer.
“When I came back I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be in that environment again because the environment wasn’t fun. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so you’re always better for it.” on some level,” he added.
The prolific middle-class batsman then promised himself that he would not let the game determine his happiness.
“I made a pact with myself that I refused to let cricket dictate my happiness in my life. At that early stage, almost 10 years ago now, I said I wouldn’t let them dictate my happiness, there is more alive than cricket.
“I will train, do everything I can to become a better player, but in the end the results of the match will not determine whether I am happy or not. I think it started there.”
(This story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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