Full Name Usman Tariq Khawaja
Born December 18, 1986, Islamabad, Pakistan
Major Teams Australia, Australia A, Australia Under-19s, Australian Institute of Sports, Derbyshire, Lancashire, New South Wales, Queensland, Rising Pune Supergiants, Sydney Thunder, Valley District Cricket Club
Batting Style Left-hand bat
Bowling Style Right-arm medium
Usman Khawaja needed plenty of patience and composure to qualify as a pilot, and the same qualities have made him one of the most promising batsmen in Australia. Born in Pakistan, Khawaja moved with his family to Australia when he was a young boy, and in the 2011 Sydney Ashes Test became the first Muslim to play for Australia. Batting at No.3 in place of the injured Ricky Ponting, he made 37 and 21 and showed impressive poise, giving Australia a ray of hope in a series that had brought them little but doom and gloom.
A classy left-hander in the languid style of David Gower, Khawaja won further Test opportunities from 2011 to 2013 but never quite kicked on beyond his regularly appealing starts. Dropped during the 2013 Ashes, he earned another recall in 2015 for the home series against New Zealand following the retirements of Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers. A move from New South Wales to Queensland in 2012 helped to reinvigorate his career; he declared his enjoyment of the game had ebbed away in Sydney.
A serious knee injury suffered in late 2014 put him out of action for six months, but when he returned to captain Australia A on the 2015 tour of India he impressed Rod Marsh's selection panel, and further leadership opportunities came when he was named captain of Queensland for the 2015-16 season.