I am not talking about my friend and fellow blogger Ujay who, despite being a Pakistani, is an obessessed fan of Australian cricket and probably their biggest supporter in the entire subcontinent.
The Pakistani Australian I am talking about is Usman Khawaja, a 21 year old Pakistani boy from Islamabad. Ever heard of him? Even I hadn't till today.
This upcoming Friday, Usman Khawaja will become the first Muslim to play interstate cricket in Australia when he steps out on to the field for New South Wales against Victoria. Today's Sydney Morning Herald mentions this to be a remarkeable achievement largely due to its timing, which comes close on the heels of race issues in Sydney.
It probably is a significant achievement to be the first Muslim to be playing for one of Australia's 6 major state teams, but I think its a bigger achievement that its a 21 year old Pakistani boy who will be walking out to open the innings for NSW. Whats even more satisfying is that Usman Khawaja is from my home town, Islamabad.
Many Pakistani traditionalists may jump the gun and criticize him for playing in Australia and not coming back to Pakistan to play cricket as they have done to the numerous players playing county cricket in the UK, but I tell you its no easy feat to represent one of the Aussies state teams in their domestic competitions. I think Uncle J will confirm this view. The fact that a young Paki boy has managed to catch the attention of the selectors by being the leading run scorer in Sydney Grade cricket this season is some achievement by Usman Khawaja.
For Usman Khawaja it will probably be the proudest moment of his life on Friday. At the same time there will be thousands of proud Pakistanis around the world supporting him. Some may even be dreaming of his Australia debut, while others of emulating him.
Ujay, I believe you will definitely be the proudest of them all. He's your namesake, he's from your land, and he's on his way to play for Australians! Australia Baby!
Good luck Usman Khawaja.