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Khawaja excited at working with Lehmann

ESPNcricinfo staff

July 5, 2012

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Usman Khawaja sweeps on his way to a half-century, Cricket Australia Chairman's XI v Indians, Canberra, 3rd day, December 21, 2011
Usman Khawaja hopes a move away from Sydney will help his game © Getty Images
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Usman Khawaja has explained his decision to move to Queensland, declaring that his enjoyment of the game had ebbed away during his last summer with New South Wales. Khawaja also said that he was excited by the prospect of working with the Queensland coach Darren Lehmann, who steered the Bulls to the Sheffield Shield title in his first season in charge.

Queensland have added three former Australia representatives to their squad for 2012-13: Khawaja, the offspinner Nathan Hauritz and the troubled batsman Luke Pomersbach. Although he has lost his Cricket Australia contract and has slipped behind others in the Test batting queue, Khawaja is the Bulls import with the most immediate prospects of an international recall.

But his aims at the start of the summer will be much simpler than regaining his baggy green. After the Blues finished second-last in the Sheffield Shield with only one win last season, and Khawaja failed to score a first-class half-century after losing his Test position in December, more than anything he wants to enjoy playing the game again.

"It was a tough year for everyone at New South Wales," Khawaja told the Daily Telegraph. "It got to a point where I wasn't enjoying my cricket as much. I need to be somewhere that will allow me to enjoy my cricket a little bit more. That was the catalyst for my move. Cricket New South Wales over the years has been an excellent organisation so it was a pretty tough decision."

Khawaja said working with Lehmann was particularly enticing, and he was hopeful that as a prolific former domestic and international batsman Lehmann would be the perfect coach to help him find his way again.

"I felt last year at New South Wales that by the end of the season I was somewhere I didn't want to be in terms of my cricket progress," Khawaja said. "To be under Darren Lehmann is a real plus. Boof [Lehmann] can't help me when I'm on the field. I just have to go out there and score runs. But off the field he's had so much experience in different situations.

"I've spoken to him a few times and I like the way he thinks about cricket, I like the way he goes about being a coach. He can be hard when he wants to and quite relaxed when he wants to. He's quite a confident bloke and just watching him bat over the years, I think he's got a lot to offer in terms of how to deal with different situations on and off the field. I'll be picking his brain and learning from him."

Khawaja said there were aspects of his game that needed work, but he was confident that he could regain his best form with the Bulls. He has spent the past month playing Twenty20 cricket with Derbyshire and when the county starts playing first-class cricket again later this month it will give Khawaja valuable opportunities to impress the national selectors in English conditions ahead of the 2013 Ashes.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by ozwriter on (July 8, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

good move khawaja, moving to queensland.. great. state player of the year 2010. as clarke and inverarity have hinted, look forward to seeing usman in the australian team if scores runs in 50 over+ formats. T20 has nothing to do with tests

Posted by Meety on (July 7, 2012, 2:19 GMT)

@Hippiantor - maybe right. Dunno if the Watto as opener ploy is finished yet. If he does bat @#3, then that would mean possibly Rohrer out of a full strength side. Anyways, when not at full strength, I think there are quite a few vacancies.

Posted by Meety on (July 6, 2012, 22:12 GMT)

@RauhlF - didn't say he would definately be a star anytime recently. Thought very highly of him 18mths ago. I was just merely putting what I thought was some context to a comment. @LewisEdwards - mate dunno about your comments on Khawaja's fielding. There was an article on this site about it, there were comments during several test matches he participated in. There is a (right or wrong dunno) thought - he doesn't put enough effort into fielding as he should.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (July 6, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

The comments on Khawaja being one of the best young batsman in Australia are spot on. Contrary to what some bloggers make up on him, he has no fielding issues and is one of the better fielders around as seen in the big bash last season. And coaching staff in CA confirmed this as well. And he is one of the better players of swing bowling around. World class player who will again be the state player of the year as he was in 2010.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (July 6, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

@hyclass you need to go get some rest, Khawaja is playing the shorter format in county and none of the Aussie players are scoring big in that format. Agree with Meety and RandyOz on that Khawaja will be a star this season and will again be the state player of the year as he was in 2010. World class batsman is correctly used for Khawaja who is all class. Was very unlucky to be dropped but will come back for sure this season for Australia

Posted by Mary_786 on (July 6, 2012, 14:47 GMT)

@hyclass give me a break mate, Khawaja is playing 20 20 since he arrived in England and that's not his preferred format. Wait till he plays the longer format in county before you pass judgement. Great to see Khawaja come under boof, he will do well under him. Also good to see Clarke give guidance to young players such as Khawaja and to get him to focus on runs only. I think Khawaja will have a big season and will be one of the leading shield scorers for this year. Can't wait to see him back in the Aussie side. He is a great inspiration for the Sub continent community

Posted by hyclass on (July 6, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

@Meety...its 15 innings since Khawaja passed 36,regardless of the rest of the teams score.While its true that his 7 games for Derbyshire have been T20,he is the overseas professional and is playing as poorly for them as he has for NSW,rendering his comments about being unhappy re NSW ideology far less relevant. The word class has been too freely bandied about in recent times and has been used to describe Marsh,Khawaja and Watson.Interestingly,the results suggest that'class' is the word most used when results are not forthcoming. As for Lehmann, I know that's how he works because when he played for Victoria,I attended a training camp at Bat and Ball in Dudley St West Melbourne with him. I had the opportunity to bowl and bat against him and talk to him about his approach to the game.I doubt that anyone who has observed him playing would regard him as a technician. His approach is based on having a complete understanding of how and when to attack or defend under varied conditions.

Posted by welly1 on (July 6, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

Had to get away from Stuart, he does not have the skills or the communication required to be a coach, at best he should be taking a 2nd grade club side!

Posted by Meety on (July 6, 2012, 2:32 GMT)

@hyclass - re: Lehman well I 'spose the proof is in the pudding! Whether he develops intelligent plans or runs on good hunches, is something I wouldn't know! Regarding Khawaja, I make it only 7 games for Derbyshire, (dunno if you are inc last yr, although I'm fairly sure he hit a ton towards the end of that stint) - ALL his 7 innings were in T20s, & 2 of his knocks were the highest score with a 3rd knock being 1 shy of the highest score. None of the other Derbyshire batsmen appear to be having a great run in the series, so I think that is relevant additional info!

Posted by Hippiantor on (July 6, 2012, 1:12 GMT)

All the comments saying Khawaja is struggling with Derbyshire aren't really fair. He has only played T20 so far this year which is his worst format, and to be honest I couldn't care . I think he finished his FC stint with them last year strongly with a 100. Looking forward to him sorting out the technical problems that hyclass alluded to and getting back to making runs in FC cricket.

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