JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Khawaja ready to return the favour for Punter

Usman Khawaja is grateful to Ricky Ponting.

Usman Khawaja is grateful to Ricky Ponting. Photo: Mark Kolbe

USMAN KHAWAJA will never forget how Ricky Ponting bent over backwards to make him feel welcome when he first walked into an Australian dressing room.

The stylish left-hander now wants to ensure ''Punter'' enjoys a memorable farewell when he joins him in the Prime Minister's XI to play West Indies at Manuka Oval on Tuesday.

Selected for his first Test match at Sydney in the 2011 Ashes series, a 25-year-old Khawaja was understandably nervous about sharing the same oxygen with greats such as Ponting and Michael Hussey.

Forced to withdraw from the match through injury, it was Ponting who helped his replacement feel like he belonged.

It's why Khawaja wants to help him go out on the high he deserves with a win on Tuesday.

''He helped so much, you talk to other players and it sounds like he's the same with any new guy coming into the squad,'' Khawaja said.

''I remember when I first came in he gave me a lot of time, not only during training but afterward. He'd have coffee with me and take me out to dinner, that's the type of bloke he is.

''For someone who's played over 150 Test matches, you could understand him not doing those little things, but he was really good like that and it'll be great to play with him again. I grew up idolising people like Ricky, it's pretty cool to realise he's actually just another bloke, a guy you can joke around and have fun with.''

Khawaja played all six of his Tests in 2011 and learned plenty about what it takes to achieve longevity by watching Ponting in action.

''The thing that stuck with me was no matter if he was in the nets, doing throw-downs or in a game, he always had exactly the same competitive mindset. Every time he goes out there he's 100 per cent committed.

''Some of the older guys like Huss [Hussey] and Pup [Michael Clarke] were really welcoming. Coming into the side you don't want to step on any toes, it's always tough, and it's nice when the older guys make it easier.''

Related Coverage

Haddin, Gayle on collision course

Prime Minister’s XI: Test off-spinner Nathan Lyon is in no doubt what corner he'll be in for Haddin v Gayle II, but the main combatants are eager to put their Big Bash League stoush to bed ahead of their much-anticipated rematch.

Solway recalls a legend

Prime Minister’s XI:When Queanbeyan's Peter Solway stood behind Ricky Ponting for the 1993 Prime Minister's XI team photo, he'd only heard predictions of how good the then-18-year-old batsman from Tasmania would be.

Ponting picks Doolan as his Tasmanian successor

Prime Minister’s XI: Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting is confident Tasmania's line of Test succession can continue, claiming Tigers batsman Alex Doolan should be in contention for this year's Ashes tour.

Manuka worthy of more big games - Lyon

Prime Minister’s XI: With Manuka Oval a week off hosting the Australian cricket team for the first time, Nathan Lyon has backed the revamped ground to host more international matches.

Ahmed hopes to inspire fellow asylum seekers

Prime Minister’s XI: Fawad Ahmed knows how traumatic life as an asylum seeker is, and he hopes his story might inspire others.

Comet's close encounter with his star

Prime Minister’s XI: He was given one of Ricky Ponting's bats as a reward for making his first century. So it's only natural Jono Dean will be star-struck when he shares a dressing room with the greatest run scorer in Australian Test cricket history.

Windies primed for Manuka

Prime Minister’s XI: The West Indies plan to use their inside knowledge of local conditions and players gained from the Big Bash League to upset a revamped Australian one-day side.

Related Coverage

Featured advertisers