Former Australia coach Justin Langer suggested that wearing a ‘long-sleeve sweater’ was the reason behind the failure of Usman Khawaja in the first innings at the World Test Championship Final 2023 at The Oval, London. Fourth over in Australia’s innings, Khawaja lost his wicket on a duck feathering Mohammed Siraj’s delivery to the wicketkeeper giving the table toppers a terrible start in the ‘Ultimate Test’.
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On the opening day of the WTC Final 2023, India skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and invited their rivals to bat first. The surface at The Oval seemed to be aiding seamers. Even though the Aussies proved it otherwise, it goes without saying that Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj did prove to be a troubling factor to Pat Cummins' side. Aussies were just four overs into the innings when Khwaja was forced to return to the pavilion on a duck on Siraj’s delivery.
Former Aussie coach Langer who was on air at that time shared a bizarre theory over the dismissal. Khawaja had come out to play in a long-sleeve sweater owing to the cloudy weather, and Langer was of the belief that it had played a role in his dismissal. He said, "He came out wearing a long-sleeve sweater. I felt if I had a long-sleeve sweater, especially early, you need to be sharp – I never felt right. And he came out wearing that long-sleeved sweater today and didn’t get going. He will be disappointed to be out in this first half an hour.”
However, Harsha Bhogle contradicted this theory suggested by Langer and said that it was the opener’s poor footwork that led to his dismissal. The Indian commentator said, “If Khawaja doesn't get that footwork right he will be susceptible to being nicked off and get into all sorts of trouble (in England).”
Notably, India bowlers bowled out Aussies for 469. By the end of the second day’s play, Indian batters Ajinkya Rahane and KS Bharat remained on the crease with 29* and 5* with their team still behind by 318 runs.