Chennai: Australia A captain Usman Khawaja, who had reconstructed his left knee after sustaining an injury, yesterday said he worked hard on his game and is confident of doing well against India A in the upcoming unofficial Test series starting on Wednesday.
"I have been training pretty hard and doing everything every cricketer do. I know Pujara did an ACL (Anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction but he had come back and score lot of runs," said Khawaja, who suffering a serious knee injury in December last year. "I am not the only person to have done knee reconstruction. I am confident of how well I will be playing in the series," he added.
Looking at the coming series, he said: "It is just a chance to play cricket. I am excited and playing in India is always fun. To be honest, I am not nervous but excited." Brushing aside talk of grounds men preparing green top, the captain said: "I looked at the wicket and there were still red clay on the surface. I still think it will turn though there are little bit of grass.
So, I feel the track will start turning on third day. It is going to be totally different. It will be tough across four days." Talking about his team, Khawaja said: "I have told them to keep things very simple. Not to change too much from how they play. Just go out there and be positive. To score a lot you need to bat well for two or three sessions.
"In India runs can come in clusters. You may not score for 15 minutes and suddenly you will be able to get 20 odd runs in space of three overs. It is very different than how we play back home. So on batting point of view I have told them not to change too much from their natural game." Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Stephen O' Keefe, who had played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala, shared his thoughts on bowling on Indian wickets.
"The message is very clear. In Indian conditions the batters are going to sweep more than what we do back home. It can be unnerving at times but I can change my deliveries in different areas. It is going to be great challenge. It is about 4 or 5 years that I was in India and I am excited to be here," he said.
Saying that he would be looking forward to chat with Indian spinners, Stephen said: "Muthiah Muralidharan was with us for couple of weeks in UAE. The biggest thing that he said was that one need to be patient and do not get upset if you get none for 50 or 70 on day one and even if you do not get wickets you have a job to restrict the runs.
"He said the game will break open at some stage. I believe bowling straight to the stumps with variations is the key. I have not spoken to any of the Indian spinners. I will sit with them during the tour, if they are giving their time. It is a massive learning experience." Talking about the significance of this series, opening batsman Joe Burns said: "I guess it is always disappointing when you miss out to play any test. It is always better to be playing. This series is important and I would like to make runs as much as possible.
"I have never played in subcontinent conditions and the series gives me an opportunity to learn. It is going to be two great weeks here and I am looking forward to it." On transition from having played in English county and coming here for the series, he said: "It is terribly different. If you ask whether it turns more here than England, I think it is more of reverse swing. It is one of the things that I am excited about."
Medium pacer of Indian origin, Gurinder Sandhu referred to the series as an wonderful opportunity representing Australia. "It is good to come back here. I used to come to Chennai a lot. It is an wonderful opportunity representing Australia again. It is always good to put on the colours and represent Australia. It is going to be a challenging competition and I hope we win our games."