24pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
As Australia’s men and women’s cricket teams continue to do amazing things in this year’s Ashes series in England, the name of Usman Khawaja is now well-known well beyond cricketing fans and families, if it wasn’t already. The top scorer in both Australian innings in the first test, following his two centuries in the 2022 New Year’s game, having been recalled after being sensationally dropped from the team in 2019, Khawaja was headline news well beyond the sports pages.
And it is this rise and fall and rise again that is captured by music legend Paul Kelly in this tribute to the man’s determination, patience and resilience, given that Khawaja himself thought he would never represent his country again. Now in picture book format so all little cricket lovers, and Khawaja fans especially, can have it forever at their fingertips, this is the print version of Kelly’s song that he wrote and released on social media after that 2022 performance.
With the music based on the Hank Williams tune Kaw-liga, it is a catchy tune that will not only have young readers easily able to read the words for themselves, but also show them that perseverance and self-belief underpin success, regardless of whether it is cricket, sport or any dream. For even though Khawaja himself will likely be remembered for being the first Pakistani-born Australian and Muslim to wear the prized baggy green, it is the message of dedication, hard work, going-back-to-basics to make things better, application and commitment that will remain with the reader and inspire them.