Usman Khawaja has responded to criticism from some retired Australian cricketers in a tense moment on live TV.
The injured Aussie batsman was commentating during Australia’s T20 victory over India on Wednesday night with Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist – both former Test players.
And Khawaja saw his commentary stint as the perfect time to respond to a raft of criticism in recent weeks about Australia’s current crop of batsmen.
Majority of the criticism has centred around shot selection, with a number of Aussie greats hitting out after batsmen play unconventional shots like the reverse sweep.
Mark Waugh tweeted his disdain recently after seeing a few batsmen moving around the crease before playing shots, rather than standing and delivering.
I know it’s T20 cricket but can we get our batsmen to stand still and keep it simple.
— Mark Waugh (@juniorwaugh349) November 17, 2018
And Shane Warne has gone to the length of calling for Graeme Hick to be sacked as batting coach.
Then in commentary on Wednesday night, Symonds said “that’s not on” after Marcus Stoinis played a reverse sweep early in his innings.
So when Khawaja was asked by Gilchrist what he made of all the criticism, he didn’t hesitate to set the record straight.
“I hear you guys talking a lot about the classic cricket shots,” he said to Gilchrist and Symonds.
“But the game’s changed guys, we do play different shots now.
“The bowlers are getting better, they’re getting smarter, they’re putting in better fields so as batsmen we need to adapt a little bit.
“A lot of the old traditionalists don’t like the reverse sweeps, the paddles. But sometimes, they’re the little risks you have to take to bring in those classic cricket shots.
“The game has evolved a fair bit from where it was.
“Sometimes it does look ugly when it doesn’t come but when it does everybody loves it and that’s the entertainment of T20 cricket.”
Khawaja said he respected the opinions of past players, but said they weren’t in the best position to be commenting.
“The game has evolved. The game has changed a bit in the last 10 or so years. That’s no disrespect to guys of your era who were excellent players.
“You can only go on what you play on but the game’s evolving and unless you’re playing it and you’re part of it you do feel like sometimes there is a bit of a disconnect between what the players are trying to achieve and what the outside world, especially traditionalists and former players, are seeing.”
Australia survived some nervous moments to hold off a valiant Indian chase at the Gabba with a four-run win that snapped a four-game Twenty20 losing streak.
Storms reduced Wednesday’s tour opener to a 17-over-a-side fixture, with India requiring 174 for victory after the hosts posted 4-158.
And they looked on track with Shikhar Dhawan (76 from 42) piloting the chase, until Adam Zampa (2-22 from four overs) dismissed captain Virat Kohli for just four.
Dhawan, who Zampa had dropped off his own bowling on 65, was caught on the third man boundary in the next over.
Needing more than two a ball in the last five overs, Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant took 25 off Andrew Tye in the 14th over to drag themselves back into the contest.
Pant then departed and left India needing 13 off the final over.
But Marcus Stoinis held his nerve, taking two wickets to leave India stranded at 7-169.