India A v Australians, Chennai, 3rd day February 18, 2013

'Good to get under pressure before Tests' - Khawaja

ESPNcricinfo staff
  shares 19

After Australia followed-on, on the third and final day of their last practice match before the Chennai Test, middle-order batsman Usman Khawaja said there were benefits of having to deal with pressure in game scenarios. India A's spinners, however, maintained they had struck a few blows on Australian confidence going into the Test starting Friday.

Khawaja, 30 not out in the second innings, said his team was, "as ready as we will be" for the Chennai Test. The pressure exerted by the India A spinners, he said, could lead to benefits rather than anxiety. "It's good to get out there and put ourselves under pressure in a good game scenario. You can bat in the nets as much as you want, but it's not the same."

The Australian batsmen he said "took a lot" out of their first innings performance, "which is probably why in the second innings you saw us bat better." Once again the openers Shane Watson and Ed Cowan, "set it up and then I think we batted pretty well throughout the second innings."

The match ended with Australia at 195 for 3 off 55 second-innings overs. India A fielded a second string of spinners, left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhurv from Gujarat and offspinner Jalaj Saxena from Madhya Pradesh.

The two turned up to speak on behalf of their team at the end of the game. Just like Manoj Tiwary had done on Sunday evening, they identified what they saw as holes in Australia's batting.

Dhurv said, "They don't play spinners too well which benefited us…their primary deficiency was defence. At times, they also failed to judge the speed of the deliveries."

The Australians, he said, had been asked to follow-on because India A had wanted to push for a win and the batsmen shut shop once Watson was run-out. "In the first innings they had tried to attack us but in the second they didn't. After Watson's run out, they went in to a defensive mode. I don't think they were trying to get on top of us. We thought they were only trying to save the game."

Saxena stepped in saying that India A had played its part in the practice match. "We played like one unit, as a team, like we had planned. We gave our best and wanted to put them under the maximum pressure, so they go into the Test series low on confidence. We didn't want them to get any confidence and for that we played our best."

Whether this can translate into an on-field impact in the Chennai Test depends, Dhurv said, on how early the Indians took control of the series.

"Everything depends on how the Indian team plays in the first few matches. If India win the first one or two matches, then it will be very difficult for them to come back. Let's see how things go when the Test series starts."

The way Khawaja saw it, though the Australians had put up, "quite a few good performances this game."

The three Australian spinners in the game would not include themselves on that list, but Khawaja said that focusing too much on the demands of Indian wickets was missing the point.

"We've actually said that spin plays a big part in India but it's not the only thing that plays a big part in India," he said. "We've seen that pace can be effective as spin out here. And our bowlers proved that in the last few tour matches so we'll have to wait and see what happens."

He was asked whether Australia was "ready to face three spinners on a rank turner?" His reply gently tried to put the attention on the home side, "If you go out that way, the spinners have a lot of pressure on them too. If there is a turning wicket they are expected to take wickets and if they don't then it's a different game, but that's Test match cricket. You're in India - the ball turns, you get reverse swing that's a part of it."

Outside Watson and Cowan, despite Australia's nervy batting performance in the practice match, Khawaja said the central idea behind Australia's batting approach needed to be positivity. "You have to be positive no matter where you are in Australia, South Africa or India. If you're not trying to score runs, you might as well not be in the middle... you've just got to find your own way to do it."

The starting point of Australia's positivity as a batting unit comes from its opener David Warner currently trying to recover from a fractured thumb. Khawaja said that he was confident that Warner would be ready for the Test. "David has been hitting a lot in the last couple of days and I think he'll be alright. We'll find out in the next few days what happens. It just depends on what is a good balance for the team."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Mary_786 on | February 19, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    I would normally say that players with limited experience should leave the talking to the senior players, however I must say that Usmans' comments are well thought out and mature. So much has been made of pressure on our batsman, but the fact is that this is a home series for India and possibly Sachin's last in which case India will want to send the legendry batsman on a high. From what i saw in the warm up games I would go with 6 specialist batsman with Khawaja at six, Wade at seven. There is no point trying to create all-rounders we don't have. Using non-specialists just wastes a spot and Australia will need every run they can get.Khawaja is much improved against spin, and we have Clarke who is the best against spin, but Khawaja is better batsman than any of the laughably labelled "all-rounders" in the squad(i.e Maxwell).My team - Warner, Cowan, Hughes, Clarke, Watson, Khawaja, Wade, Pattinson, Siddle, Lyon, Bird

  • POSTED BY SherjilIslam on | February 19, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    For the first time between an India - Australia series, no body can really predict who is favorite..... It's too tough to predict anything about these two sides who are struggling with player retirements,forms, and injuries.The series could go either way with any possible margins.Just hoping to see extremely competitive cricket from both sides as this is the USP of all India-Australia series.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | February 19, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    come on Aussies !! Lets treat this one as a a good wakeup call !! Go for it !! Nothing is impossible !! Lets get inspired by the Poms (Ashes shall come later ) and put up some show !! Go Aus !! God bless !!

  • POSTED BY himanshu.team on | February 19, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    One big difference between tour games and test match is that the later is the REAL test match. Aussies will have Clarke in and most probably Warner too. In that case, it will be a very different looking batting performance from the visitors. India on the other hand would dearly hope that Bhajji finds his old form back ASAP. Ashwin does not look like a bowler who can run through a side and Ojha is best when there is pressure from the other end. If Bhajji fires, everything will fall back in place for India.

  • POSTED BY on | February 19, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    I simply do not understand comments pertaining to forcing Australia to follow on ..... what part of potential headlines across India of "Australias lose to India A by and Innings" don't you understand?? It would have been a humiliating loss.

  • POSTED BY Mary_786 on | February 19, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    Paul and hyclass, do you think this will be sachin's last series

  • POSTED BY hycIass on | February 19, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    Interesting to note that Brett Lee and David Boon came out supporting Watson as opener over Cowan. That on top of Ian Chappell. Cowan surely has his critics and one feels that he either has to score big in India or he won't be going to the ashes. Watto's decision not to bowl may cost Cowan highly. @Evangelyst yes we are a good side but so is India at home, so its set up to be a big series, we are underdogs but we can match India if we get the team right. I would still lean towards 6 specialsit batsman which allows Watson, Cowan and Khawaja to play. Khawaja and Warner can have huge series if they can get through the spin barage. Judging by the tour game, it's not our openers we need to worry about as runs in the first 15 overs seem the easiest to get, its the middle order which will need to stand up - sure Clarke has to come in for the Test, but otherwise Khawaja, Hughes and Wade will have to stand up.

  • POSTED BY Paul_Rampley on | February 19, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Yeah agreed Michael. I don't think the players volunteer to speak to the media, I think you'll find it's part of their contracted obligations as players. His comments are a pretty accurate, succinct view of the upcoming series for me. A refreshing lack of arrogance even. Playing three spinners (or more) could certainly be viewed as a more risky gambit than Australia potentially playing one. I hope Khawaja gets a good go in this series, and fulfils some of his potential. Tough task though no doubt, a traditionally opener/no.3 making your way back in to the team against the Indians at home. Should be a great series and yes i am predicting Sachin will fire in this series, he is too good not to.

  • POSTED BY FighterKallis on | February 19, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    Gambhir is not that much stupid to give the australian batting the reqd practice.He delibrately did it as he was dropped. Watson or Cowan will hit a century in the first test.Gambir a mean fellow.

  • POSTED BY Sunil_Batra on | February 19, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    @luvinda its a bit ambitious comparing Hayden and Cook to Cowan, the former guys average 50+, Cowan 32. Honestly i understand if you have favorites but best not to make unfair comparisons. Brett Lee and Boon came out stating they want Watto opening instead of Cowan so he will have to prove his critics wrong with some big scores and it has to be this series. As for Khawaja's comments, sure the pressure is on India but we all know that our guys in Watson, Cowan, Hughes and Khawaja are all stronger against the fast men then spinners so pressure will be on all these guys to show that they can get runs in foregign conditions. And i know Hughes didn't get runs in the warm up game but him and Khawaja at 3 and 4 form a formidable pair and could be our guns not only in this series but also ashes.

  • POSTED BY Mary_786 on | February 19, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    I would normally say that players with limited experience should leave the talking to the senior players, however I must say that Usmans' comments are well thought out and mature. So much has been made of pressure on our batsman, but the fact is that this is a home series for India and possibly Sachin's last in which case India will want to send the legendry batsman on a high. From what i saw in the warm up games I would go with 6 specialist batsman with Khawaja at six, Wade at seven. There is no point trying to create all-rounders we don't have. Using non-specialists just wastes a spot and Australia will need every run they can get.Khawaja is much improved against spin, and we have Clarke who is the best against spin, but Khawaja is better batsman than any of the laughably labelled "all-rounders" in the squad(i.e Maxwell).My team - Warner, Cowan, Hughes, Clarke, Watson, Khawaja, Wade, Pattinson, Siddle, Lyon, Bird

  • POSTED BY SherjilIslam on | February 19, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    For the first time between an India - Australia series, no body can really predict who is favorite..... It's too tough to predict anything about these two sides who are struggling with player retirements,forms, and injuries.The series could go either way with any possible margins.Just hoping to see extremely competitive cricket from both sides as this is the USP of all India-Australia series.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | February 19, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    come on Aussies !! Lets treat this one as a a good wakeup call !! Go for it !! Nothing is impossible !! Lets get inspired by the Poms (Ashes shall come later ) and put up some show !! Go Aus !! God bless !!

  • POSTED BY himanshu.team on | February 19, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    One big difference between tour games and test match is that the later is the REAL test match. Aussies will have Clarke in and most probably Warner too. In that case, it will be a very different looking batting performance from the visitors. India on the other hand would dearly hope that Bhajji finds his old form back ASAP. Ashwin does not look like a bowler who can run through a side and Ojha is best when there is pressure from the other end. If Bhajji fires, everything will fall back in place for India.

  • POSTED BY on | February 19, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    I simply do not understand comments pertaining to forcing Australia to follow on ..... what part of potential headlines across India of "Australias lose to India A by and Innings" don't you understand?? It would have been a humiliating loss.

  • POSTED BY Mary_786 on | February 19, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    Paul and hyclass, do you think this will be sachin's last series

  • POSTED BY hycIass on | February 19, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    Interesting to note that Brett Lee and David Boon came out supporting Watson as opener over Cowan. That on top of Ian Chappell. Cowan surely has his critics and one feels that he either has to score big in India or he won't be going to the ashes. Watto's decision not to bowl may cost Cowan highly. @Evangelyst yes we are a good side but so is India at home, so its set up to be a big series, we are underdogs but we can match India if we get the team right. I would still lean towards 6 specialsit batsman which allows Watson, Cowan and Khawaja to play. Khawaja and Warner can have huge series if they can get through the spin barage. Judging by the tour game, it's not our openers we need to worry about as runs in the first 15 overs seem the easiest to get, its the middle order which will need to stand up - sure Clarke has to come in for the Test, but otherwise Khawaja, Hughes and Wade will have to stand up.

  • POSTED BY Paul_Rampley on | February 19, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Yeah agreed Michael. I don't think the players volunteer to speak to the media, I think you'll find it's part of their contracted obligations as players. His comments are a pretty accurate, succinct view of the upcoming series for me. A refreshing lack of arrogance even. Playing three spinners (or more) could certainly be viewed as a more risky gambit than Australia potentially playing one. I hope Khawaja gets a good go in this series, and fulfils some of his potential. Tough task though no doubt, a traditionally opener/no.3 making your way back in to the team against the Indians at home. Should be a great series and yes i am predicting Sachin will fire in this series, he is too good not to.

  • POSTED BY FighterKallis on | February 19, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    Gambhir is not that much stupid to give the australian batting the reqd practice.He delibrately did it as he was dropped. Watson or Cowan will hit a century in the first test.Gambir a mean fellow.

  • POSTED BY Sunil_Batra on | February 19, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    @luvinda its a bit ambitious comparing Hayden and Cook to Cowan, the former guys average 50+, Cowan 32. Honestly i understand if you have favorites but best not to make unfair comparisons. Brett Lee and Boon came out stating they want Watto opening instead of Cowan so he will have to prove his critics wrong with some big scores and it has to be this series. As for Khawaja's comments, sure the pressure is on India but we all know that our guys in Watson, Cowan, Hughes and Khawaja are all stronger against the fast men then spinners so pressure will be on all these guys to show that they can get runs in foregign conditions. And i know Hughes didn't get runs in the warm up game but him and Khawaja at 3 and 4 form a formidable pair and could be our guns not only in this series but also ashes.

  • POSTED BY Edwards_Anderson on | February 19, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    I am still surprised that Gambhir send us back in yesterday, in the process guys such as Khawaja, Cowan and Wade got a further hit, Khawaja got 30 not out and no doubt that will help his confidence going in to the test series. Shame Hughes didn't get runs but hopefully he clicks in the test matches. @luvindia Cowan will have to work hard for his runs, every time spinners came on Cowan got out so he will have work hard in the nets to get over his weakness.@Nary90 Haydne was great, now we realise how good he was.

  • POSTED BY on | February 19, 2013, 1:35 GMT

    Mind games and typical comments from the home team. First of all there is a clear shortcoming in the Australian team:

    "their primary deficiency was defence ... "

    but then apparently even having good defence is a sign of weakness:

    "they went in to a defensive mode ... "

    Hopelessly contradictory. The Australian batsmen absolutely should take something from this match, there is no point going out to play warm up matches and not be tested. Any decent test batsman can deal with getting out a few times and having their confidence put up to the test, it's precisely the thing you need to get you mentally in the right place for what is going to be a very tough test series. If a poor batting performance in a tour match ruins your confidence then you shouldn't be playing test cricket.

  • POSTED BY Naary90 on | February 18, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    I still remember the form of hayden in india!! he was too dangerous then !!!!!!!! left handers will play the key ! and india are lucky becos hussey is not part of this tour !

  • POSTED BY Evangelyst on | February 18, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    Australia are a good side and it will be a tough series to win. India have their task cut out, but if they play well and try to fight session by session and gain the advantage, they can win. Its a good series which will help the younger Indian players test themselves against quality opposition. I hope India wins, but even if they dont, I will be happy if India uses this as an opportunity to groom their players and build the nucleus of the future.

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    opening and no.6 and 7 of Australian line-up are crucial slots for India.

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Australian batsmen have to watch for Indian seamers more, for if they break the Aus lines then the spinners will see it quickly to the end. That is the way it is now a days. Not spin all the way.

  • POSTED BY luvindia on | February 18, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    I don't think India a dented Aussies's confidence. Actually they gave good practice for Aussie batsmen against spin. Both Cowan & Watson are showing good form. Usually left handed openers fourish in India. Remember Hayden, Flower, recently Cook. I believe Cowan will relish Indian matches being a left handed opener. Indian bowlers should not allow Aussie openers to stay long. Otherwise it might end as England series. Hopefully India wins this series. But i think series is open. No favorits

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    australia should play this team in first test match: cowan (if warner is not fit) watson hughes clarke khawaja wade henriques siddle starc lyon doherty

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    this is the first time i see when australians touring here defendind that they are also on par.... previously they focused on using mind games by saying the indians were above par ...... hopefully they realised it indeed helped indians mntally after their last two series in india...

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    this is the first time i see when australians touring here defendind that they are also on par.... previously they focused on using mind games by saying the indians were above par ...... hopefully they realised it indeed helped indians mntally after their last two series in india...

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    australia should play this team in first test match: cowan (if warner is not fit) watson hughes clarke khawaja wade henriques siddle starc lyon doherty

  • POSTED BY luvindia on | February 18, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    I don't think India a dented Aussies's confidence. Actually they gave good practice for Aussie batsmen against spin. Both Cowan & Watson are showing good form. Usually left handed openers fourish in India. Remember Hayden, Flower, recently Cook. I believe Cowan will relish Indian matches being a left handed opener. Indian bowlers should not allow Aussie openers to stay long. Otherwise it might end as England series. Hopefully India wins this series. But i think series is open. No favorits

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Australian batsmen have to watch for Indian seamers more, for if they break the Aus lines then the spinners will see it quickly to the end. That is the way it is now a days. Not spin all the way.

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    opening and no.6 and 7 of Australian line-up are crucial slots for India.

  • POSTED BY Evangelyst on | February 18, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    Australia are a good side and it will be a tough series to win. India have their task cut out, but if they play well and try to fight session by session and gain the advantage, they can win. Its a good series which will help the younger Indian players test themselves against quality opposition. I hope India wins, but even if they dont, I will be happy if India uses this as an opportunity to groom their players and build the nucleus of the future.

  • POSTED BY Naary90 on | February 18, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    I still remember the form of hayden in india!! he was too dangerous then !!!!!!!! left handers will play the key ! and india are lucky becos hussey is not part of this tour !

  • POSTED BY on | February 19, 2013, 1:35 GMT

    Mind games and typical comments from the home team. First of all there is a clear shortcoming in the Australian team:

    "their primary deficiency was defence ... "

    but then apparently even having good defence is a sign of weakness:

    "they went in to a defensive mode ... "

    Hopelessly contradictory. The Australian batsmen absolutely should take something from this match, there is no point going out to play warm up matches and not be tested. Any decent test batsman can deal with getting out a few times and having their confidence put up to the test, it's precisely the thing you need to get you mentally in the right place for what is going to be a very tough test series. If a poor batting performance in a tour match ruins your confidence then you shouldn't be playing test cricket.

  • POSTED BY Edwards_Anderson on | February 19, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    I am still surprised that Gambhir send us back in yesterday, in the process guys such as Khawaja, Cowan and Wade got a further hit, Khawaja got 30 not out and no doubt that will help his confidence going in to the test series. Shame Hughes didn't get runs but hopefully he clicks in the test matches. @luvindia Cowan will have to work hard for his runs, every time spinners came on Cowan got out so he will have work hard in the nets to get over his weakness.@Nary90 Haydne was great, now we realise how good he was.

  • POSTED BY Sunil_Batra on | February 19, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    @luvinda its a bit ambitious comparing Hayden and Cook to Cowan, the former guys average 50+, Cowan 32. Honestly i understand if you have favorites but best not to make unfair comparisons. Brett Lee and Boon came out stating they want Watto opening instead of Cowan so he will have to prove his critics wrong with some big scores and it has to be this series. As for Khawaja's comments, sure the pressure is on India but we all know that our guys in Watson, Cowan, Hughes and Khawaja are all stronger against the fast men then spinners so pressure will be on all these guys to show that they can get runs in foregign conditions. And i know Hughes didn't get runs in the warm up game but him and Khawaja at 3 and 4 form a formidable pair and could be our guns not only in this series but also ashes.