Estranged batsman Usman Khawaja feels that closed-door matches could end up helping Australia against India, given the kind of support the visitors received in their tour Down Under in 2018/19. Khawaja further admitted that India were deserved winners in the 2018 series which the visitors won 2-1.
A combination of Indian expats scattered all around the world and cricket being a religion has meant that the Men in Blue have never been short of support irrespective of where they’ve travelled, be it Australia or South Africa or West Indies. Indians taking over stadiums in away games is a sight that has become pretty common and it was witnessed first-hand by the Aussie players a couple of years ago when a swarm of Indian supporters made MCG and Sydney look like enemy territory for the Australians.
However, with every passing day, it looks increasingly evident that should sport restart, it would definitely be played behind closed doors due to health concerns, and according to Usman Khawaja, such a scenario could benefit Australia in their series against India later this year, given the hostile reception they received two years ago, despite playing at home.
"It's definitely an advantage (playing behind closed doors). I remember the last time they came over for a one-day series, the roar for India was much bigger,” Khawaja told Fox Sports, reported TOI.
"Especially in Melbourne, the amount of expats they have over there, they flock in. And when India's on top they really let you know it. It's a really weird feeling. When you're in India, you expect to be outnumbered massively but you can be outnumbered in Melbourne, as well as Sydney to some extent also."
The 2018/19 Border Gavaskar Trophy was a ground-breaking one for Indians, as the team, led by Virat Kohli, won its first-ever Test series on Australian soil, and Khawaja admitted that the visitors were the deserved victors on that occasion. However, the Queenslander, who was left out of CA’s centrally contracted player list last week, stated that the return of both Warner and Smith will considerably strengthen the batting line up of the home side.
"They were clearly the better team last time, we hung in there but (Cheteshwar) Pujara was outstanding and Kohli led from the front as a captain. Their bowling unit was as good as I've ever seen an Indian bowling unit, they really went toe-to-toe with our bowlers.
"Our bowlers are still in great form, though, and this time Steve Smith and Davy Warner will be in the side too, so a little bit of difference in the batting line-up," said the 33-year-old.