Flying high after Test selection

Flying high after Test selection
24 June 2010
UNSW aviation graduate and accomplished cricketer Usman Khawaja has opened a new chapter in sport, becoming the first Muslim player to be selected in the Australian Test Squad.

Khawaja, 23, completed his Bachelor of Aviation (Flying) degree in 2007, juggling state and national representative cricket with study and flying to gain his commercial pilot's licence.

"While Usman was a student at UNSW he was part of our Elite Athlete Support Program," said Helen Bryson, UNSW's Athlete Development Coordinator

"The program assisted him with flexible study options while he was playing at the elite level - during this time he represented Australia in the under-19s World Cup and played several matches with NSW."

Since Usman's debut with the Blues in 2008, the left-handed batsman has become a mainstay of the NSW top order. He's now a step closer to playing for Australia following his selection in the Test squad to play against the nation of his birth, Pakistan, in England next month.

Professor Jason Middleton, Head of UNSW's Department of Aviation, said Usman's selection is a great achievement.

"Despite his heavy commitments to cricket at the highest level, he maintained excellent academic progression and completed his academic and flying requirements in minimum time," Professor Middleton said.

Khawaja joins an illustrious list of UNSW graduates who have played cricket for Australia: Geoff Lawson (Optometry) and Mark Taylor (Surveying), current Australian Women's captain, Alex Blackwell (Medical Science), and Michael Slater, who played with the UNSW cricket club while also representing Australia.

Media contact: Denise Knight, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8920


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