Usman Khawaja could miss the birth of his second child during Australia’s tour of Pakistan while Cricket Australia is expecting players to pull out over safety concerns.
Khawaja won’t be one of them as he seizes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play Test cricket in his birth country to fulfil a lifelong dream.
But according to Sydney Morning Herald, some members of Australia’s 18-man squad are not as eager, and could withdraw.
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The publication reports that CA is bracing for players to skip what is Australia’s first visit to Pakistan in nearly 24 years.
Players and staff have been briefed by CA over the intense security measures in place in a bid to give the touring party every confidence in touring Pakistan, although it may not be enough for some.
It will be, however, for Khawaja, who just burst back into Australia’s Test XI in time for the historic series.
Such is Khawaja’s commitment to the tour that he runs the risk of missing the birth of his second child.
The three Test series is scheduled to end on March 25, while Khawaja and wife Rachel are expecting in mid to late April.
Should the baby arrive earlier than expected, Khawaja could still be in Pakistan when the child is born.
“She’s very understanding. We even had a conversation about what happens if we had a baby mid-Test match,” Khawaja said. “She knows I love playing cricket, it’s very important to me, she’s very supportive of that, and she knows I try to support her any way I can.
“But fingers crossed she doesn’t have a baby while we’re away. I was always going to go.
“It’s going to take me a lot to come back, it is Test cricket for Australia. I’m sort of not thinking about it because I don’t want it to happen, but ask me if it does happen.”
Meanwhile, selectors chair George Bailey revealed on Wednesday that four players have been put on standby to tour Pakistan should they be required.
Batters and former Test players Matthew Renshaw and Nic Maddinson are on stand by, while Sean Abbott and Mark Steketee are bowling back-up.
“Matt Renshaw and Nic Maddinson on the batting front I think are two guys that we’re really happy with how they’re going at the moment,” Bailey told SEN.
“We’re looking forward to them continuing their form over the next little period.”
Of Abott and Steketee, he added: “They’ve both been around the Australian group at different times.
“Any of those four, when they do get their opportunity, I’m really confident they’ll do a great job.”