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Australian players can inspire generations by touring Pakistan, says Khawaja

09 Jan, 2022
Usman Khawaja has scored ten Test centuries since the start of 2015, that despite missing almost half the Tests Australia have played in this period. AFP
Usman Khawaja has scored ten Test centuries since the start of 2015, that despite missing almost half the Tests Australia have played in this period. AFP

Australian batter Usman Khawaja has said that it would be a “great opportunity” for Australian cricket to give a little back by touring to Pakistan this year, adding that the players could “inspire a new generation” of cricketers.

“It will be amazing. I think it’s a great opportunity for Australian cricket to give a little back. I said to the guys you can actually inspire a new generation of cricketers who have never seen you play by just going over there to play,” he said during a pre-match conversation with Fox Cricket commentator Mark Howard at SCG on Sunday.

Khawaja was announced player of the match for his hundreds in both innings of the fourth Ashes Test against England in Sydney. Though the match was drawn after James Anderson doggedly played out a tense 102nd and final over from leg-spinner Steve Smith, Khawaja’s knock brought the hosts in a strong position and gave hope to lead the series by 4-0.

The final day of the game ended with England on 270 for nine chasing a 388-run target.

The SCG hero added that the cricket fans in Pakistan have seen David Warner, Steve Smith, and Marnus Labuschagne and such players, he reiterated, could new generation of cricketers.

“I don’t think there's no better way to give back to the game than tour countries like Pakistan, who have been deprived of cricket for so long,” he said, “so hopefully we will get over there not just for my sake but for Pakistan cricket and for all those young boys and girls who want to inspire to be a professional cricketer in the future.”

Howard had asked him about the upcoming Australia tour to Pakistan and the amount of support he would get when the series will happen.

The Pakistan-born Australian cricketer was of the view that he always had “great support” from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. He added that the crowd was amazing there when he was playing for the Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League in 2021.

Pakistan is expected to host Australia in March after 1998. Australia will play three Tests, three one-day internationals (ODIs) and one Twenty-20 international (T20I) match in a month-long series commencing from March 3.

The Test matches will be played in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore from March 3 to 25, while all four white-ball matches will be played in Lahore from March 29 to April 5.

The other day, former Australian cricketer Shane Warne during a TV show had said: “You need Australia, New Zealand, India & England, all these teams to go to Pakistan, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh to promote the game. The excitement & then the money comes in from the revenue of TV rights. It’s really important that teams can do that.”

But he had also highlighted that security must be well for the touring teams.