Usman Khawaja's beautiful tribute to wife in all-time awards speech

The Aussie opener was awarded the Test player of the year gong at the Australian Cricket Awards.

·5-min read
Usman Khawaja, pictured here paying a brilliant tribute to his wife in his speech at the Australian Cricket Awards.
Usman Khawaja paid a brilliant tribute to his wife in his speech at the Australian Cricket Awards. Image: Getty

Usman Khawaja stole the show at the Australian Cricket Awards on Monday night, delivering a beautiful tribute to his wife before roasting a number of his teammates. Khawaja was honoured with the Shane Warne men's Test player of the year award at the ceremony in Sydney in recognition of his remarkable return to the national side.

Khawaja wasn't even in Australia's Test side for the first three matches against England in the Ashes last summer, but has made the most of his recall. The opener came back into the Test side for the fourth Test at the SCG in 2021 after Travis Head was forced to miss the match.

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Khawaja smacked a century in both innings, forcing selectors to keep him in the side and leave Marcus Harris out. The Queensland player's stellar form continued for the 12 months that have followed as he made 195 not out in this summer's SCG Test against South Africa - his third consecutive hundred in Sydney.

He also made 97, 160, 44 not out, 92 and 104 not out during Australia's historic tour of Pakistan last year - the country of his birth. The 36-year-old amassed 1020 runs at an average of 78.46 in the voting period - the most by any Aussie Test player.

During his acceptance speech, Khawaja thanked Head for giving him a game in Sydney in 2021, while also smacking down Marnus Labuschagne when his teammate gave him 'the wind-up' towards the end of his speech. "This is my time," he said. "When the people's champ is talking you don't rush the people's champ."

However Khawaja did get serious when he made special mention of the support his wife Rachel has given him throughout his career. "You are the rock. You know how much I love you,” he said.

“When I got dropped in 2019, you gave me unconditional love. I’m getting emotional thinking about a very tough time in my life. You loved me when I was playing for Australia, you loved me when I was playing for Queensland, even when I was a ‘clubbie’ playing for ‘Valleys’ you gave me unconditional love.

“You love Usman Khawaja the person, not Usman Khawaja the cricketer – and for that, I’m truly indebted to you. Without you, I wouldn’t be standing here right now."

Usman Khawaja's brilliant speech delights cricket fans

Khawaja's wife Rachel was also clearly emotional during the beautiful moment, before he then mentioned his young daughters. “I’ll just give a quick mention to my daughters, Aisha and Ayla. They won’t understand what’s going on right now, but I’m sure at some level at some time in life, they’ll be like ‘you should’ve thanked us’. Feisty girls, those ones.

“Aisha I love you so much. You bring so much happiness to my life, something I could never ever explained. You mean the world to me. Ayla, you’re only eight months old, you’re attached to your mum right now, the most I get is ‘ba ba ba’ from you – but that ‘ba ba ba’ melts my heart and I love you too very much."

Usman Khawaja, pictured here with the Shane Warne men's Test player of the year award.
Usman Khawaja poses with the Shane Warne men's Test player of the year award. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Khawaja finished off by thanking the fans, because “The People’s Champ has to thank the fans”. He said: “The love I’ve gotten over the last year, I could never ever imagined getting that kind of love.

“I finally feel like not only my teammates, but Australia as a country and as a cricketing organisation is finally respecting me as the person, the beliefs I have. I love where we’ve been and where we’re going. I love where we’ve come over the last 10 to 15 years and hopefully over the next 10 to 15 years we can be even further."

Khawaja also won the Community Impact Award on Monday night for his brilliant work with young people from disadvantaged communities. Cricket fans were blown away by Khawaja's speech, taking to social media to commend the Aussie star.

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