Waqar hails Khawaja's selection
Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach, has hailed the selection of Islamabad-born batsman Usman Khawaja to the Australian Test squad, calling him a role model for immigrants. Khawaja could make his debut against the country of his birth when Australia play Pakistan in a two-Test series in England in July.
"Now Khawaja has broken into the Australian team, I am sure if he performs well it will encourage other Pakistanis living and playing in Australia, because the system there is good for players," Waqar told AFP from Colombo.
Waqar, who lives in Sydney, said he had watched Khawaja play and was impressed with his talent. "He plays like the Australians do and it is great to see someone from Pakistan breaking into world's best team," he said. "He is an impressive talent and is in the Australian squad only because he has done well at the domestic level." Khawaja, who plays for New South Wales, scored three centuries and 698 runs at 63.45 in seven games last summer.
Waqar, however, warned Khawaja not to expect any preferential treatment from the Pakistan squad should he be in the XI in the two-Test series. "I hope he doesn't score much against us and my bowlers come hard at him."
Pakistan last played Australia in Australia in 2009 and lost all three Tests, five one-day games and a Twenty20 match. Waqar, who took over as coach after that disastrous tour, said facing Australia again would not be easy. "This is not going to be an easy series. As long as we remain positive, play to our potential and show mental strength we can surprise Australia. If at the back of your mind, you think you are playing Australia, which is a great side, you must also have a belief that you can play well and show mental strength. This is an area we are working on."
The first Test starts at Lord's on July 13 and the second at Leeds on July 21. Pakistan also play four Tests, two Twenty20s and five one-day matches against England on the tour which ends on September 22.