The Roar
The Roar


The Khawaja snub: Now it's personal

26th January, 2016
Usman, you da man! (AFP, Saeed Khan)
26th January, 2016
4616 Reads

Should Leonardo DiCaprio again be overlooked for Oscar honours after his stellar work in The Revenant, there are fears among the showbiz industry that he will be ultimately defined as the Usman Khawaja of Hollywood.

See how far this has gone now?

The reaches of the latest inexplicable neglect of Khawaja knows no bounds, its poignancy allegedly transcending even the insular circles of A-List royalty to now position itself as a lofty measuring stick for one of the award season’s great anomalies.


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Yes, this is the heartbreaking story of a man who has produced a litany of blockbuster performances to only have the Australian selectors savage him like an unfed, randy bear. It is a fable with undeniable worldly appeal, and mountains of screenplays are only a matter of time.

Since Khawaja’s smoking blade was ungraciously flicked at Rod Marsh’s uneasy squad announcement on Monday, a violent moshpit of debate has raged so loudly that I can now experience headaches from a three-second portion of light Bach.

How can the batting savant of 2016 – a man who hugs his neck with a hipster top button yet acts nothing like a hipster – be treated like a hipster should, that being frequently terribly?

How can one honest man’s hide be loaded with so many spikes from the rough end of many, many pineapples? Do we even have that many pineapples?


As a topic that’s never ever ever been discussed before on this fine website, let’s recap the speculation and conspiracies.

Despite Khawaja’s sumptuous strokeplay and a mass of runs that have entrenched him in the upper crust of state runs columns, selectors have long perceived him as detrimentally lethargic, a reluctant peddler of booze, and not a Marsh.

In addition to this, whenever they’ve compassionately caved to give him a shot, the powers-that-be have also creatively manipulated his limited experiences within the national program.

They’ve plucked him from the Big Bash to bat at 13 for Australia, flown him on numerous overseas tours to guard equipment, and even arranged to have his knee blow itself out. Again, allegedly. But it’s probably true.

Stacked auspiciously and inflated with hyperbole, Khawaja’s is a metronomic series of unjust confidence hammerblows. But despite a few pockets of hardy supporters and conspiracy theorists over the journey, his plight hasn’t captured the entire nation’s hearts. Including mine.

It’s nothing personal, it’s just that we sceptics learned long ago that the national selection panel is a caucus of the darkest, coldest hearts known to man with a warped logic and reasoning that Sigmund Freud wouldn’t take an appointment for.

We’re all too aware they baffle for fun and Khawaja isn’t immune.

But after his recent glut of visual wonderment and bowler torture, us dormants have decided that this joke has gone too far. We are all up in arms, on board with the message and shouting in unison that his 36th and latest shunning is actually unjustifiable and bloody shameful.


Why? Because now leaving Khawaja out of the side not only hurts him, it also hurts us. And this hurts me, because I’m not into the business of frowning, because frowning is for jerks.

As Australians who care deeply about the success of our beloved national cricket team, unreasonably tying their results to our moods and making mountains out of their molehills, we’ve realised our team would be stratospherically improved with Khawaja’s current superhumanism.

His current patch is one that should not only usurp Aaron Finch or George Bailey, it demands that you rotate out Sir Don. It’s a simple philosophy of the game – when something is braining everything that moves, don’t leave it at home. Allow it to continue braining things, like New Zealanders.

So that’s why we’re all 100 per cent on board. The mistreatment of Khawaja has gone on far too long now that something has made us realise it’s gone on far too long.

Sure, his continued series of inexplicable exclusions may hurt him personally, but who cares? It’s not about him anymore. We are all worse off for Khawaja being somewhere else other than New Zealand for these short-form matches.

Unless you stream Shield matches – and you’re a sicko if you do – not only will we be deprived of the man’s eye-watering purple patch of form, Australia will need to make up around 150 rapid runs per innings to compensate for his absence. Give or take.

Bad decision, selectors. Your discrimination not only hurts Uz, it also hurts us.