Years to these champion batters!

Years to these champion batters!

Last week at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Australia middle-order batsman Usman Khawaja gave the right sign of too good.

He scored two centuries in his return Test – his first in more than two years; Australia for 14 Tests is not showing up on the Test Team Sheet. The way he came back after a long gap is phenomenal in terms of the sheer amount of runs. This is also one of the many reasons why he is so special.

Khawaja’s return to Test cricket reminded me of how Mohinder Amarnath came back after he was overlooked in 23 Test matches in November 1979 and September 1982. He was recalled for the 1982–83 tour of Pakistan and scored a century in the opening Test at Lahore.

Amarnath had made a comeback in Tests before (in 1976) and (1979), but it was spectacular – against an attack led by Imran Khan, in which he scored 584 runs in six Tests, including three centuries.

Captain Imran said Lahore’s century was a “great reward” for Amarnath, who put the innings together, while R Mohan wrote in The Sportstar: “Mohinder had a testing time when the Pakistanis fired bouncers at him. Even after a three-year absence from the test, he could still carry stuff on his body or hook, when he had enough time to prove how wrong everyone was in assessing a chime in his armour. , so that he can disqualify him. Test cricket.”

Amarnath, who should have copyrighted the word ‘return’ in the meaning of cricket, followed Khawaja’s fortunes in Sydney. He told me on Tuesday how happy he was to have a classy left-handed batsman. “What he did is not easy, when people doubt your abilities all the time. He proved many people wrong. He must have felt reborn in a way. I am sure he will go from strength to strength now.

“I felt like [after the comeback hundred in Lahore] Being under scrutiny all the time and talking about everything under the sun. It is the best slap for those who doubt.”

If Amarnath fans thought that the 1982-83 tour of Pakistan was the last tour of his comeback, they were wrong. After his 0,0,1,0,0,0 order in three Test matches against West Indies at home in 1983–84, the selectors were forced to drop him. Re-elected for the 1984–85 tour of Pakistan, Amarnath scored a second innings century in the opening Test at Lahore.

Among the Indian batsmen, ML Jayasimha in Brisbane (sent as a replacement for BS Chandrasekhar on the 1967–68 tour of Australia), Dilip Sardesai (dropped for the home series against Australia) in Jamaica in the opening Test and 1970–71 of the West Indies. selected for the tour), Navjot Singh Sidhu at Bangalore (selected for the 1988–89 series against New Zealand after two Tests against the West Indies in 1983–84) and Ravi Shastri at Lord’s (after being dropped for the New Zealand tour). Later recalled for the 1990 tour of England).

Shastri realized that he was troubled during the tour of Pakistan in 1989 and got a two-and-a-half-month break by not going to New Zealand. “When I came back, I was inspired again and found I was very hungry,” he told Sportsworld magazine. The second century was scored in the third and final Test at The Oval after Lord’s century in the first Test.

Back to Khwaja. The Pakistani-born player didn’t hesitate to talk about his chances of scoring a century in the build-up to the Sydney Test, when it was announced that he would replace Covid-hit Travis Head. “It’s one of those things where even if I play, it will only be for one game, I understand the situation, hopefully I can go out there and score a century and in Heady’s absence, the team I can do well. [Head]!” He told It is one thing to talk about scoring a century, going out and getting it and scoring another in the second innings is quite another.

As things stand, a double century in Sydney may not guarantee him a place in the playing XI for the final Ashes Test in Hobart. Head is fit to come and if any batsman has to be dropped it will be Marcus Harris, whose approach the selectors are happy with. The dismissal of Harris means Khawaja will have to open the innings. He has done so only seven times in 79 Test innings, but his record at the top of the order is impressive – 484 runs at 96.80 with two centuries. That said, the opening would be another kettle of fish. He last went to bat for Australia in a Test on 3 January.

Khawaja will accept any challenge at any cost. Because, he has proven to be more than just too good.

Mid-Day’s Group Sports Editor Clayton Murzello is a purist with an open stance. He tweeted @ClaytonMurzello

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The views expressed in this column are those of the individual and do not represent the views of the paper



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