In 2011, Pakistan-born Usman Tariq Khawaja, 29, a pilot by training, became the first Muslim to play for Australia’s national cricket team at Sydney test. Since then he has become Australia’s hottest batsman.
In a recent interview he gave to ESPNcricinfo, Khawaja gave credit of his success to his faith.
“I pray. That’s what keeps me centered. The number one most important thing in my life is religion. That comes first and that helps me with everything else, cricket included. I haven’t become any more religious. I think I’ve just found a happy medium of religion helping me with life in general. It sort of happens when something as big as what happened a couple of years ago with Hughesy happens. I think everyone took it in a different way. Everyone finds different avenues and aspects so that’s one big one for me,” he said.
Australian media has been exploiting Khawaja’s presence to whitewash country’s intolerance toward Muslim minority.
Khawaja claims that cricket is part of his religious mission, and he doesn’t play it for limelight or money.
On February 18, 2016, Ben Home wrote at The Daily Telegraph: “Just a matter of months after returning from a complete knee reconstruction, Khawaja has managed to lay claim to being the best batsman in world cricket. A multi-million dollar contract as well as a face-of-the-game profile is now on its way. From the four consecutive Test centuries and two BBL tons he’s racked up, to the furore that raged over his non-selection in the one-day team – Khawaja has become Australia’s it man and a batsman for the people.”