As Australians waits with baited breathe for the commencement of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba on December 8, it seems selectors have chosen this occasion to host the homecoming of one of Queensland’s favourite, honorary, sons.

Usman Khawaja has been included 15-man Australia squad for the first time in more than two years, and will utilise his acclimatisation to the harsh Queensland heat to compete with Travis Head for a middle-order batting spot.

Ussie last wore the baggie green in the third Test of the 2019 Ashes series at Headingley, before being dropped to keep Marnus Labuschagne to remain in the side when Steve Smith returned from concussion.

This surprise selection comes as the 34-year-old Khawaja hits the ground running in the Sheffield Shield season, after reinventing himself as a rugged Queenslander.

While first signed with Queensland in the 2012/13 season – The pandemic has resulted in Ussie’s longest stretch on Maroon soil – forcing the left-hander to ingratiate himself with the culture of the sunkissed countrymen and women of the Deep North for two full years.

Not since Jeff Thomson has a Western Sydney boy managed to so comprehensively win over the hearts and minds of the Sunshine State, as Ussie returns to the Australian side after two years carting plumbers for Valley District Cricket Club in Brisbane.

Speaking to the Betoota Advocate in the sheds today, Usman wore a vintage Maroons State Of Origin jersey, as he stood in front of locker plastered with Queensland cultural icons like Cathy Freeman and Wally Lewis.

“I’m hoping this summer I’m gonna be covered in chrome” said Khawaja, subconsciously referencing cult Brisbane rock band Violent Soho, whose poster also appeared in the locker.

“Not a bad call up” he said, before finishing his sentence with the mandatory “aye” – which is a sound Queenslanders use to indicate that they have finished a sentence.

“The moment I got the news I went straight to the Brekky Creek and shouted all the boys a steak.”



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