Usman Khawaja in action during fourth India-Australia Test match© AFP
Former Australian cricket team captain Ian Chappell criticised Indian bowlers’ strategy against Usman Khawaja during Day 1 of the fourth Test match between India and Australia in Ahmedabad on Thursday. The pitch did not favour the bowlers much and although India were able to take two wickets in the first innings of the game, Khawaja played a gritty knock to slam his 14th Test hundred. Mohammed Shami was the only Indian bowler with two wickets while the spinner were unable to trouble the Australia opener. Chappell said in a recent interaction that the Indian spinners got their strategy completely wrong against Khawaja and that can end up hurting them in the crucial Test match.
“I think the calmness of Khawaja has been exemplary in this series. One thing I can’t understand is India’s desire to come around the wicket at all times to a left-hander. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. All the good left-handers I have spoken to have said the right arm over the wicket is the toughest line to face. Ok, now for every now then for a change you can bowl around the wicket. It works well in England but in India, it is ridiculous. Particularly to a player like Khawaja, whose great strength is his on-side. We saw that today. Why would you angle the ball into his pads, when that’s exactly what he wants,” Chappell explained while analysis Day 1’s play on Cricinfo.
“The other thing about Khawaja is, he looked at ease at all times. India to me, haven’t come up with a solution to Khawaja’s batting and it is really starting to hurt them,” the Australia legend added.
Khawaja, batting on 104, put on key stands including a 79-run third-wicket partnership with skipper Steve Smith, who made 38, to hand Australia a strong start.
After a long grind, Khawaja was batting alongside Cameron Green, on 49, at close of play after Australia elected to bat at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.
(With AFP inputs)
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