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Stop-start selection is hurting Khawaja

Dylan Carmody Roar Guru

By Dylan Carmody, Dylan Carmody is a Roar Guru

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13 Have your say

    Cricket is a form game, and to get into form you need to be on the field.

    It is a message that is hammered home to every young cricketer today: the best way to get back into form is to be on the field making runs or taking wickets.

    Therefore the inconsistent stop-start selection of Usman Khawaja could have harsh consequences for the dynamic left-handed batsman who has not played an international game of cricket since January.

    Khawaja has an average of just over 47 in Test cricket, a stunning record when you consider that he was averaging under 30 when he was recalled to the Test side in 2015.

    While his one day average of 31 isn’t a world-beater, it is vastly contrasted by a list A average of 44, proving his dominant ability at the 50-over game.

    It is proof that Khawaja is a versatile cricketer and makes it even more disappointing that Cricket Australia have not got behind the Queenslander and stuck with him for the long term.

    Since November of 2015 Khawaja has averaged over 75 with the bat, that number only being brought down by a poor series in Sri Lanka.

    This series in Sri Lanka, however, proved to be his undoing, as selectors made up their minds that the Pakistan-born Khawaja was unable to handle spin-friendly conditions.

    Unlike David Warner and Mitch Marsh, who both averaged 27 for the series, Khawaja was dropped, which carried over to India, where Shaun Marsh was preferred for his ability to handle spin.

    The Western Australian averaged only 29 in the series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

    While this is poor, Khawaja also skipped the one day matches in New Zealand to train in Dubai for the upcoming tour of India – a tour for which he was not picked in any match.

    Though he wasn’t selected in the Champions Trophy squad, Khawaja has been handed the captaincy of the Australia A squad to tour South Africa in a desperate bid to get games into the left-hander before a rumoured Bangladesh tour in August.

    If that tour goes ahead and Khawaja gets picked, he will not have played international cricket in six months.

    But if selectors hold to their reasoning that Khawaja cannot play spin and do not pick him, he will not have played international cricket in over six months.

    Obviously this is not the best preparation for the Ashes.

    Part of this lack of cricket is Khawaja’s own doing. In hindsight he should have gone to England to play some country cricket like his Victorian counterpart Peter Handscomb instead of choosing the IPL riches of the Royal Pune Supergiants.

    There he is running drinks, and the only balls he is hitting are in the nets.

    Usman Khawaja is most likely going to go into this Ashes series without playing international cricket in more than six months. It is a sad state for a cricketer with such enormous potential and talent, and you can only hope that selectors change their stop-start selection of the Queenslander.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • May 20th 2017 @ 6:08am
      jeff dustby said | May 20th 2017 @ 6:08am | ! Report

      i thought we ran out of Usman articles about 3 years ago? he is the most popular man on the roar

      • Roar Guru

        May 20th 2017 @ 10:46am
        Dylan Carmody said | May 20th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

        Never can run out of articles about the great man Uzzie!

    • May 20th 2017 @ 11:50am
      Matt W said | May 20th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

      I feel that Usman is discriminated against because of his ethnicity and origins. It is rather unfortunate. But I think ACB and BCCI are complicit in the treatment.

      • Roar Guru

        May 20th 2017 @ 4:22pm
        Dylan Carmody said | May 20th 2017 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

        I wouldn’t say he’s being discriminated against, as they selected Khawaja in 2015 without him setting the house on fire in Shield cricket. It’s more that they don’t really know when to pick him and when not to, and have this unfounded idea that he cannot play spin.

        • May 20th 2017 @ 4:31pm
          Ross said | May 20th 2017 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

          Great article, my 2 cents here is that why did Khawaja miss the NZ series when they send him to prepare for India knowing they wouldn’t pick him for marsh, that was bad management as it meant that Khawaja missed out on the India series for Shaun marsh and champions trophy for finch both of whom have failed in international cricket in the last year

          • May 20th 2017 @ 11:25pm
            Amith said | May 20th 2017 @ 11:25pm | ! Report

            The spin excuse is conveniently used against Khawaja when its not true. For those who say Khawaja should not have played in India because of his terrible form in one test in Sri Lanka, Will Dave Warner ever tour the sub continent again ? And wasn’t Ussie dropped for the best player of spin in Sri Lanka in S. Marsh, just doesn’t make sense does it.

    • Roar Rookie

      May 20th 2017 @ 2:50pm
      Alexander Livingston said | May 20th 2017 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

      Not sure how Finch gets the nod ahead of him in the Champions Trophy squad. How handy would he be at the top of the order just hitting gaps in the power play!?
      Can’t wait for the first game where Finch scratches around for 20 balls, hacks a couple of boundaries to mid-wicket and then spoons a drive straight to mid-off!

      • May 20th 2017 @ 4:29pm
        Ross said | May 20th 2017 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

        Completely agree, picking finch over Khawaja was absurd, Khawaja averages 53 in domestic one day cricket and he can get big scores as opener and not be a flat pitch bully like finch who recently averaged 24 in the IPL. Also to not play Khawaja in India was absurd too given he averages nearly 50 in test cricket, marsh averaged 18 in the series against India

        • May 20th 2017 @ 11:24pm
          Amith said | May 20th 2017 @ 11:24pm | ! Report

          If Khawaja is not picked in the XI for the 1st Ashes test, it will be probably the worst selectorial decision for many years. He scored a century, two 90-odds and another 50 last test summer. He was then taken to India, and not even considered for the tests (through no fault of his own).Who knows how he would have gone if given the chance? He is a better bat now than on the Sri Lankan tour, and the prep for India was top class. Clearly he has not done anything since the last test against Pak to weaken his case. The only other way he could miss out would be if someone else has leapfrogged him. S. Marsh had a miserable tour of India. Maxwell? Sure, a fine century in India…but he failed in his other 3 knocks, and anyway has nothing like Khawaja’s test record overall – especially at home, where (if I’m not mistaken) the all-important Ashes series will be held! Talk about a no-brainer

          • Roar Guru

            May 21st 2017 @ 6:44pm
            Ryan H said | May 21st 2017 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

            He’ll play in the Ashes opener at the Gabba barring any sort of injury I’d have thought; wouldn’t be too worried about that. Can’t really see the top six of Renshaw, Warner, Khawaja, Smith, Handscomb and Maxwell changing too much.

            I agree with the article though in that poor management right from the start hasn’t helped Khawaja in the slightest; unceremoniously shuffled around like a deck chair far too often, and we saw a similar thing with Starc in the early patches of his career.

            • May 22nd 2017 @ 11:15am
              Stephen said | May 22nd 2017 @ 11:15am | ! Report

              Good comment Ryan, Khawaja is a lock in for the Gabba test but the way we have managed him for the ODIs and test would lead people to getting fired, leaving him out of the last dead rubber in Adelaide One dayer against pakistan, then resting him for the NZ series so he can be ready for India and not playing him against India only to leave him out of the champions trophy, thats pathetic management of one of our best players

    • Roar Rookie

      May 23rd 2017 @ 11:12pm
      Greg said | May 23rd 2017 @ 11:12pm | ! Report

      I see the argument about Khawaja’s lack of tests in the subcontinent. But I think the series that permanently damaged his reputation against spin bowling was the 2013 Ashes in England. 5 out 6 dismissals against spin, in traditionally seaming conditions – in an Ashes series that he wasn’t expected to play in – was always going to count against Khawaja. Yes, the third dismissal wasn’t out – but he never looked comfortable that series. If he played in Colombo last year, that would have been his final chance to prove himself.

    • Roar Guru

      May 26th 2017 @ 10:30am
      Giri Subramanian said | May 26th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

      Khawaja is under lots of pressure after the success of Matt Renshaw as an opener. Renshaw was brilliant in India and for a young player on his first tour to sub continent, he did a brilliant job. Khawaja had a good home series against Pakistan though. I think he will still be in the Ashes squad but his performance in SL last year does not bode well for him. If I had to choose between Renshaw and Khawaja, I would go to Renshaw as the youngster showed great temperament playing in unfamiliar territory.

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