Usman Khawaja's telling reveal in David Warner player of the series drama

The Aussie opener has revealed how his teammate reacted to being named player of the series against South Africa.

Usman Khawaja, pictured here alongside David Warner.
Usman Khawaja has revealed David Warner's reaction to being named man of the series. Image: Getty

Usman Khawaja has revealed new details about how David Warner reacted to being named player of the series after Australia's triumph over South Africa. The decision to hand Warner the gong has proven highly divisive in the cricket world, with scores of fans and commentators blasting the move.

Warner scored 213 runs in the three-Test series at an average of 53.25, however 200 of those runs came during one innings at the MCG in the Boxing Day Test. Travis Head equalled Warner's run tally after scores of 92, 0, 51 and 70, scoring at a strike rate of over 100.

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Steve Smith was the leading run-scorer for the series with 231 at an average of 57.75, while Pat Cummins took 12 wickets at an average of 16.91. It has since emerged that Warner, Head and Khawaja were all equal on 18 votes for the player of the series award, but it ultimately went to Warner for his impressive double century at the MCG.

Speaking after the drawn third Test at the SCG, Cummins revealed that Warner was surprised as anyone to learn he'd been named player of the series. “He said it himself - ‘oh, that’s surprising’,” Cummins told reporters. “I heard someone say it was (very close) between a few different players and Davey got it in the end."

Speaking on Monday, Khawaja revealed similar details. “Davey came out, he’s like, ‘That’s an absolute joke'," the opener said on SEN radio. “I think even he was like, ‘What the hell’s going on here?’

“It’s one of those things, Davey had an amazing game last week, got 200… when you have a small series like that it can be kind of hard to give a player of the series but even he was taking the mickey out of himself.”

Discussing the furore in the same segment, commentator Gerard Whateley and former player Simon O'Donnell savaged the Warner decision. Whateley said: “He got the player of the match for his double-century in Melbourne, that’s where it ends. You don’t get the player of the series for failing in the other two Test matches. I nearly fell off my chair when it happened.

“Travis Head certainly was ahead of him from a batting perspective because he performed in all Tests, Steve Smith’s numbers were better. I don’t know why we are so prejudiced against bowlers, Pat Cummins 12 wickets at 16, he was the player of the series in my eyes.

“How for one innings in one Test match across a three-Test series that you can end up as a man of the series … I think even Warner was shaking his head. It was a total howler and I don’t really understand how it could have happened.”

O'Donnell added: “I think there was (a clear choice). Travis Head, (he scored at) a run a ball, two of his innings were crucial. He changed the momentum of the way Australia were batting. I dispute that they were all equal, I think Travis Head was well ahead of the other two.”

Travis Head and David Warner, pictured here after the third Test against South Africa at the SCG.
Travis Head and David Warner look on after the third Test against South Africa at the SCG. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Usman Khawaja speaks about missing double century

Meanwhile, Khawaja said he has no ill-will towards Cummins after the captain's declaration on day four at the SCG robbed him of a maiden double century. Khawaja was on 195 not out when rain ended day two early, before the third day was a complete washout. With Australia needing 20 wickets in two days to win the match, Cummins declared before play on day four and left Khawaja five runs short of the milestone.

“If I was a little bit younger, 100 per cent (I would have been disappointed). Until I was about 25 I was very self-focused," Khawaja said.

“A couple of big things happened in my career and my life that made me realise the most important thing always is what the team needs from me. What you remember in cricket is always the wins. People score lots of runs, people take lots of wickets but a lot of the time, everyone just forgets about it. But what they do remember are the series wins.

“As a cricketer, you need to realise that individual milestones are awesome but if you’re not winning cricket games, if you’re not doing what’s right for your team, you’re probably not playing the game the right way.”

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