Usman Khawaja under fire over response to Aussie loss in second Test
The Aussie cricketer's comments have gone down like a lead balloon after the tourists' loss in Delhi.
Usman Khawaja has found himself at the centre of controversy after the second Test after his comments on Sunday left a number of cricket commentators gobsmacked. Australia's hopes of winning the Border-Gavaskar trophy were ended in just six days of cricket, with India holding an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
After being crushed by an innings and 132 runs in the first Test, Australia put up a much better fight in the first innings of the second match. However it all went wrong in the second innings, with a collapse of 9-48 seeing the Aussies bowled out for just 113.
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It didn't prove nearly enough as India chased down the 114 required for victory with six wickets in hand. The Aussie batters have come under heavy fire in the aftermath, with Matthew Hayden saying they went "way over the top" with their aggressive approach in the second innings.
It was perfectly illustrated by the dismissal of captain Pat Cummins, who was out first ball after playing a rank slog across the line of a Ravi Jadeja ball that crashed into his stumps. Cummins' dismissal left the Aussies reeling at 7-95.
Discussing the situation on SEN radio on Sunday, Khawaja said: “Sometimes that’s just how it goes. We were just out-skilled, we didn’t execute well enough today unfortunately. We executed quite well in the first innings, we just couldn’t do it for the whole game."
Khawaja defended the side's aggressive approach, which saw six out of 10 second innings dismissals come via the sweep shot. “There’ll always be outside noise but at the end of the day we’re out here trying to win games of cricket for Australia. You have to pick your poison, one way or another," he said.
"You can get out blocking or you can get out trying to execute shots we’ve been practising. That’s just the way it goes. If you’re looking short-sighted, it sucks, but we’ve still played a lot of good cricket over a long period of time.”
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However Khawaja's comment that it's "just the way it goes" didn't sit well with commentators Gerard Whateley and Adam Collins. Whateley said: “They will have to come up with better than 'it’s just how it goes'."
Collins added: “I don’t know if that’s reading the room. They (India) are laughing at us now.
“That bit about, ‘There’ll be outside noise’. I don’t know if that’s reading the room particularly well from Usman. I acknowledge he is one of the most mature cricketers in the world at the moment and he is entitled to his view and it should be respected, but the outside noise is going to be there from everywhere and to ignore it would be a mistake.
“Even that line about picking one’s poison. What’s the starting point – that they are going to be outdone by (Ravi) Ashwin and (Ravi) Jadeja and they just have to pick the way they are going to get out? I don’t know if that’s the right starting point at this level when you’re the No.1 side in the world. It feels like there is a mindset issue here in addition to the chasm here on these surfaces.”
Speaking to the media on Monday, Australia coach Andrew McDonald defended his side's approach to the second innings. "Our methods are going to be critiqued, and rightfully so," McDonald said.
"There were some people who went clearly away from the game plan that made them successful over a period of time and that's for us to own as a collective. We've got to be better than that, that's the bottom line, we've got to own it and we are not here to shy away from the fact that wasn't good enough."
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