Usman Khawaja of Australia took a trip down memory lane, recalling the infamous “Homeworkgate scandal,” which shook the Australian dressing room to its core during their 2012-13 tour of India.
Many controversies have occurred in Australian cricket. The Australians have been chastised for using racial slurs, unfair means, and a variety of other tactics. The infamous Sandpapergate scandal is still fresh in people’s minds, and the Homeworkgate scandal was something that caused a massive disruption in the management’s functioning.
“Our priorities at the time were a little bit wrong,” the 36-year-old told the Sydney Morning Herald on the eve of the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test against India on Wednesday, February 8, 2023.
“We were more worried about the box-ticking stuff for players, rather than actually ‘hey, are we a skilful team’. All the coaching and support staff with Mickey (Arthur) at the top were trying to concentrate on all the other things, but that wasn’t the reason we were losing. At that point, we weren’t a more skilful team than India, and that’s why we lost. We didn’t lose because we weren’t fitter than them, we didn’t lose because we weren’t a better fielding side than them, we were just not as skilful as they (India) were,” he stated.
“We were more worried about the box-ticking stuff for players” – Usman Khawaja
In 2013, Australia visited India for a four-match Test series. However, their plans were foiled when India won the first Test by eight wickets. After losing the first game, the Australian team found themselves in a crisis situation. Following the defeat, then-head coach Arthur assigned each member of the playing squad the task of submitting three points on how to improve their individual and team performances in the remaining Tests.
The players were informed of their ‘homework’ duties the day after the defeat, and they had four days to complete the report. They could either text, email, or leave a note for Arthur with the pointers. However, four members – Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson, and Usman Khawaja – failed to submit their reports, prompting the support staff and skipper Michael Clarke to convene to discuss the next steps. The four players who did not turn in their ‘homework’ were later barred from competing in the third Test in Mohali.
To conclude, Khawaja stated that following that he suffered from paranoia to the point where he felt like an ‘outsider’ in the Australian dressing room.
“It was already tough enough for a new guy to fit in the team. And when something like this happens, it just made you feel like you were more of an outsider,” he concluded.
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