The Roar
The Roar


Stop-start selection is hurting Khawaja

Usman Khawaja's ready for a World Cup tilt. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Roar Guru
19th May, 2017

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.