Usman Khawaja at the crease during his successful tour of Pakistan recently (Via ABC, AP - Anjum Naveed).
Usman Khawaja at the crease during his successful tour of Pakistan recently (via ABC, AP - Anjum Naveed).
He went on to debut for NSW and Australia by the age of 24, and in that period completed his Bachelor of Aviation at UNSW. 

This month, Khawaja’s journey came full circle fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play Test cricket in the country of his birth – 24 years since Australia last toured Pakistan. 

And upon his return ‘home’ he amassed 496 runs in three Tests, averaging 165.33, resulting in him being named Player of the Series in Australia’s 1-nil win. 



Only one Australian batter has bettered that performance in a three Test tour of Pakistan, which was former captain Mark Taylor in 1998, who made 513 at 128.25, with 334 of those famously coming in one innings. 

Making Khawaja’s run of form all the more remarkable is that just two months ago, his Test future remained uncertain. The 35-year-old was the unlucky batter to miss out on Ashes selection vying for the vacant No. 5 spot in Australia’s batting order with South Australian Travis Head. 

Head won out. A first Test century against the English in Brisbane locked down his spot. 

That was until he contracted COVID-19 and his misfortune prior to the New Year’s Test at the SCG was Khawaja’s chance. 

Khawaja’s back-to-back centuries in the middle order was too hard for the selectors to ignore and he was moved to opener for the fifth match in Hobart where he stayed for Australia’s tour of Pakistan. 

The elegant left-hander could well have had four centuries in his five innings against Pakistan, and not just the two he posted, scoring 160 in Karachi and a vital 104 not out in the second innings of Australia's third Test win.



He also made 91 in the first innings of that third Test and fell three runs short of a century at Rawalpindi to open the series. 

This week it was confirmed that Australia would tour to Sri Lanka for the first time in six years, during June and July, providing Khawaja with further opportunity to continue a stellar run of form in the twilight of his career. 

Khawaja is the current Queensland captain, now living in the Sunshine State with his wife and young daughter. He graduated from UNSW in 2008.