In a recent interview, Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja shared his thoughts on the last series between Australia and Pakistan, highlighting the excellent spirit of cricket displayed during the Lahore Test encounter between Shaheen Shah Afridi and David Warner.
"The last series between Australia and Pakistan was an excellent series. It went very well on and off the field. Shaheen was bowling excellent in the Lahore test, and Warner was playing really well. Even when Warner got out, he got a pat on the shoulders with a smile on Shaheen's face. It was the epitome of the spirit of cricket. That's what Australians want; you play hard, and when the game is over, you are all good and mates off the field," Khawaja remarked.
Expressing his admiration for the Pakistani team, Khawaja praised their batting skills and the strength of their fast-bowling attack. "Pakistan is one of the better teams in the world. They have good batting and always have great fast bowlers. Looking at the past teams, I think this is the strongest Pakistan batting lineup coming over. Babar Azam is one of the best batsmen in the world. Imam ul Haq and Abdullah Shafique have scored a lot of runs. I am very excited about this challenge."
Khawaja drew parallels between the upcoming clash of batting titans, Babar Azam and Steve Smith. "Babar Azam is one of the best batsmen in all three formats. Steve Smith is the greatest batsman of our era. When they both will be playing here in the Benaud-Qadir series, it would be exciting. Matching Babar with Smith is almost like matching Smith with Kohli."
He commended Babar Azam's ability to perform consistently both at home and overseas. "One of the great things about Babar is he does not score only in Pakistan; he scores runs overseas as well. He has scored a hundred here in the past."
Khawaja also acknowledged the challenge posed by Pakistan's fast bowlers in Australian conditions. "I think Shaheen Shah and Mitchell Starc, both are very fast bowlers, and both can bowl up to 145. We know Starc can swing the new ball. Shaheen has a very good wrist. He definitely swings the ball. When it's overcast in Australian conditions, if a fast bowler is swinging the ball, it makes our job as an opener a bit tough. This is what you rebel for, this is what you pay for."