Not many people know that Australian batsman Usman Khawaja is not just a cricketer but also a qualified pilot. Born in Pakistan, Usman Khawaja got his bachelor’s degree in aviation as a commercial and instrument-rated pilot before he made his Test debut for Australia in 2011. He attained his basic pilot license before he got his driving license.
In a video tweeted by Cricket Australia’s official Twitter handle, Usman Khawaja is seen trying his flying skills by taking control of world’s largest passenger aircraft Airbus A380. In the video Usman is at Qantas flight training school where he was trying his hands in stimulator. Usman flew it like a pro but had a rough landing in the end.
Khawaja speaking about his love for flying said, “I travelled a lot as a kid. My dad worked in Saudi Arabia for about 5-6 years, so I use to travel back and forth to see them and then come back here to play cricket. I just grew a fascination with planes. As I was coming towards the end, year 11-12, I thought 'what about flying'. I found UNSW (University of New South Wales - School of Aviation), which offered both a degree to make my mother happy and get my licence to get my wings.”
“I think flying helped me a lot in terms of cricket. Probably the biggest way was discipline and keeping up with the learning, making sure you are on top of any changes that has happened. There are a lot of things that go hand in hand between flying and especially playing Test cricket. The discipline part of flying and discipline of being a sportsman, especially being a cricketer and being a batsman, I think there are a lot of similarities,” Usman Khawaja added.
The left-handed batsman was part of the Australian squad that played against India at home and lost the four-match Test series by 2-1. Khawaja didn’t perform up to the mark as he scored just 198 runs in eight innings at an average of 28.29.