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Revealed: Covid positive Head’s Ashes replacement

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There’s no major change to his game other than some hard grafted mental toughness around what balls to play on and around off stump. But it’s upstairs where the major difference has occurred, as evidenced by his impromptu outfield dance during the Adelaide Test which would not have happened a decade ago.At age 35 Khawaja has seen the end of the road and is not afraid of what lies around the corner.Catch every moment of The Ashes live and ad-break free during play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free now.He may not drink but he’s had a lemon, lime and bitters at the last chance saloon and is comfortable about the challenge awaiting him in his final tilt at the Test match game which comes 11 years after he walked on to the same ground against the same opponent for his Test debut.Aussie test team pollOn that occasion he made a promising 37 which had Australia buzzing over his potential and set him off on 44-Test journey featuring eight centuries and a batting average of just over 40. It’s a solid record but one which still left the vibe there was some unfulfilled potential. Since playing his last Test against England on the 2019 Ashes tour Khawaja has become a father for the first time to Aisha and has another child on the way.In the lunch break of the recent Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Western Australia at the Gabba he spent five minutes playing with his daughter before retreating to the dressing room.“I don’t stress about things as much as I used to,’’ Khawaja said recently. “I used to ride the big selections but not so much now. “It’s not as if I have a poster of Australia up on my wall. “I enjoy captaining Queensland. If that was all I had I would be very happy.’’Khawaja brings an intriguing dynamic back to the team and could be a help to skipper Pat Cummins if Cummins is prepared to accept that Khawaja won’t always tell him what he wants to hear for he is not a go-with-the-flow kind of guy.Candid with his views and happy to share them in most forums, Khawaja was the one player on the last Ashes tour bold enough to tell coach Justin Langer players were “walking on eggshells’’ around him.But when other players were criticising Langer behind his back in a recent revolt, Khawaja felt sympathy for the coach and said any concerns should have been aired to Langer’s face.Selection in the Test will take Khawaja one step closer to fulfilling a lifelong dream of playing cricket in Pakistan, his country of birth for Australia tours there in March. Queensland chairman of selectors Chris Hartley told News Corp recently that the Bulls’ captain “wouldn’t let Australia down”.“He’s in a place in his cricket now where he’s just playing with a beautiful freedom and enjoyment,” Hartley said.“He’s always been a class player, his skill level exceptionally high. He’s always been in the top couple of batsmen in Australia for skill level and if he got an opportunity — he can bat anywhere from No. 1-6.”“He is very relaxed. That’s not to say he’s not hypercompetitive, but he’s realised he’s on top of his game and all he needs to do is go out and play.”



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