Usman Khawaja will look to score big once again in the third Test against West Indies at SCG © Getty Images
Usman Khawaja will look to score big once again in the third Test against West Indies at SCG © Getty Images

Australia batsman Usman Khawaja for the first time speaks about his faith and religion and believes that praying keeps him grounded. “I pray because it keeps me sane and grounded,” he says. Unlike other cricketers like Moeen Ali, who prays in the dressing room, Khawaja believes that he finds peace in praying in the hotels during match days.  Khawaja also says that he does not try to show off the fact that he is spiritual and does not make political statements like Moeen did some time back. Moeen during the Southampton Test against India in 2014 wore wristbands, which said, “Free Gaza”. As a result of this Moeen was received with a lot of boos across the stadiums that particular season. Full Cricket Scorecard: Australia vs West Indies 2015-16, 2nd Test at Melbourne

Khawaja was unaware of this controversy. “If it was in the sport pages I must have missed it. I try not to read the sports section. But I do read the front of the paper.” He added, “I am not out there pretending to be the perfect Muslim,” he says. “I do my best and I try to be grateful for the good things that come and take bad things in my stride,” as quoted by theaustralian.com.au.

Like Fawad Ahmed, Khawaja too has been exempted from sporting logos of alcoholic companies on this shirt. He does not dawn a beard like Moeen or Fawad and says that he has been subjected to any sort of racial abuse during his stay in Australia. “I have not had any incidents of racial stuff. Nor has my mum, who wears the hijab. But Mum shields me from stuff, even today. I don’t think she has had issues, but I wouldn’t know if she did,” he says.”

Khawaja is going through an excellent run of form of late and despite his deep faith believes that it could all stop soon.
“Just because I believe in God it doesn’t mean that bad stuff doesn’t happen to me. Just because I am getting centuries now it could all just end tomorrow and that would be God’s will as well. I do think that everything happens for a reason and certain things are just meant to happen,” says Khawaja.

When asked about his chances of leading Australia some day, he quickly dismissed it. “I don’t think so, really. Smithy and Davey [Warner] are both younger than I am and will be around for the whole time I am likely to be in the team,” he says.