For someone who moved from Pakistan to Down Under at a young age, Usman Khawaja has undeniably come a long way to become a vital cog in the Australian set-up. Ever since becoming the first Muslim to play for the Aussies in the Sydney Test during 2011 Ashes series, the left-hander has managed to cement his position in the Australian side on the back of consistent performances.
When it comes to his batting, the Australian batsman thrives on the composure and patience he has developed over the years to build his innings. And, that is not derived from the countless hours spent in the nets. In fact, Khawaja mastered the art of discipline - something that's a must for any sportsperson - through his stint at the University of New South Wales - School of Aviation.
Yep, you read that right. The Australian cricketer is also a qualified pilot after getting both his degree and licence to fly airplanes. And, he put his flying skills to test by taking control of Airbus A380 - the world's largest passenger aircraft - recently.February 20, 2019
In a video shared on Twitter, the 32-year-old was seen handling himself quite expertly in the cockpit, his only blemish being a slightly rough landing. Confessing his love for flying, Khawaja said: "I travelled a lot as a kid. My dad worked in Saudi Arabia for about 5-6 years, so I use to travel back and forth to see them and then come back here to play cricket".
guess this means they cant drop him for ashes because hes the one flying them over?— Blake Robinson (@Robbo_1990) February 20, 2019
"I just grew a fascination with planes. As I was coming towards the end, year 11-12, I thought 'what about flying'. I found UNSW (University of New South Wales - School of Aviation), which offered both a degree to make my mother happy and get my licence to get my wings," Khawaja said.
Talking about how flying helped him in his cricketing endeavours, Khawaja revealed: "I think flying helped me a lot in terms of cricket. Probably the biggest way was discipline and keeping up with the learning, making sure you are on top of any changes that has happened. There are a lot of things that go hand in hand between flying and especially playing Test cricket. The discipline part of flying and discipline of being a sportsman, especially being a cricketer and being a batsman, I think there are a lot of similarities".
Till flying simulator is fine but please don't give him real aircraft with passenger else be ready for Australian version of 9/11.— Abhishek Tripathi (@abhishekt2009) February 20, 2019
While many sportspersons are clueless about their choices post retirement, the Australian batsman seems to have that area covered pretty well. After acing the flying test, Khawaja will now have to back it up on the cricket field when Australia lock horns with India in two Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) and five One-Day Internationals (ODIs), slated to begin from 24th February.