Usman Khawaja has had his chances, now it’s time for him to go

Stephen Vagg Roar Guru

By Stephen Vagg, Stephen Vagg is a Roar Guru

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50 Have your say

    I love Usman Khawaja as a player. Love his stroke-play and shot selection.

    Hate how he was dropped in India despite being in the form of his life.

    Love the fact he captains Queensland and seems to be a laid back sort of character. Love that he brings some diversity to the Australian team.

    We could really use an in-form Usman at the moment, with no Steve Smith or Dave Warner for 12 months. Not just for his batting but his experience, including captaincy nous. If he’d been in better form with the bat, people might even be talking about him as a possible captain.

    But he hasn’t, and they aren’t and I’m thinking maybe it’s time he was dropped.

    Australian batsman Usman Khawaja

    Usman Khawaja (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    The thing is, he’s had chances, Usman.

    For all this rotten treatment in India – and it was rotten (I believe the selectors’ lack of faith in players contributed to a feeling of instability in the Test team which contributed to sandpapergate) – he has just had nine Tests on the trot.

    That’s a good sample, in friendly conditions, and he managed a couple of fifties and one big score in a dead Test.

    When requred to stand up, he simply hasn’t.

    Darren Lehmann coached Usman in Queensland, brought him into the side in 2013 at the expense of Ed Cowan, and suggested he open in India instead of Matt Renshaw.

    But now Lehmann is gone, so will the selectors lose faith?

    You could argue no one is knocking down the door, especially without Warner and Smith available – but that’s not really true.

    There’s Glenn Maxwell, who’s never had anything like Usman’s chances in the Test team, is a much better fielder and offers a bowling option. Or Travis Head, who can also bowl, captains South Australia and has international experience. Or George Bailey, who averages just under 40, is an excellent captain, and has a tradition of being Australian sides that actually win.

    Or Cameron White, who still averages 40, has been consisted with the bat, and offers a lot of experience (I recognise his ODI failures will count against him). Or Hilton Cartwright, who’s played two Tests and is recovering from his sophomore slump with some form.

    Australia have invested a lot of time and effort in Khawaja’s Test career – a lot more than many other batsmen – and it’s still not reaping returns.

    Instability of the Test side notwithstanding, maybe it’s time to try someone else for the UAE tour?

    Because we really can’t afford to stuff around with Usman Khawaja anymore – not when there are other options out there.

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    The Crowd Says (50)

    • April 11th 2018 @ 12:20pm
      cantab said | April 11th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

      Pick him for home tests, but don’t play him in away tests.
      The amateur notion that you play the same side home and away will fade with professionalism. In the same way it did for the 3 separate formats – ODI, Tests and T20 .

      • April 11th 2018 @ 12:28pm
        Stephen Vagg said | April 11th 2018 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

        But he didn’t do particularly well in home tests or in South Africa where the conditions are similar to Australia.

        • Roar Pro

          April 12th 2018 @ 1:09pm
          Ashan D said | April 12th 2018 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

          Pink ball Test vs South Africa in that series at Adelaide.

          • April 20th 2018 @ 10:46am
            Stephen Vagg said | April 20th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

            he was brilliant then…. but that was a while ago now…

    • Roar Guru

      April 11th 2018 @ 12:44pm
      JamesH said | April 11th 2018 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

      Ooooooh, there are some Usman fans on this site who will absolutely flame you for this.

      If Smith and Warner were still in the side then sure, his form probably warrants a spell. But without them we can’t really afford to drop Khawaja. With only one away test for the rest of this year (vs Zimbabwe) his form outside of Australia isn’t a massive concern. And Shaun Marsh is surely on the chopping block before Ussie.

      The guy really has to stand up next summer though.

      By the way, I’m surprised you didn’t mention Ferguson. He’s been the most consistent top-order Shield batsman for several years now.

      • April 11th 2018 @ 12:55pm
        Stephen Vagg said | April 11th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

        I’m an Usman fan! But he’s doing my head in!!!

        I like Usman more than S Marsh but at least S Marsh gets key runs when needed eg first test.

        Yeah Ferguson is a possibility too. He deserved more than one test.

        We’re playing tests against Pakistan too aren’t we? In the UAE?

        • Roar Guru

          April 11th 2018 @ 10:28pm
          JamesH said | April 11th 2018 @ 10:28pm | ! Report

          I thought the Pakistan tests weren’t until March 2019 but apparently they’ve been moved to October this year.

          Weirdly, we’re scheduled to play SA at home in 5 ODIs and a T20 in October, then head to the UAE in that same month to play 2 tests, 5 ODIs and a T20, then return home to play India in November. Not sure how that’s going to work:


          • April 14th 2018 @ 5:28pm
            John Erichsen said | April 14th 2018 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

            The scheduling contributes significantly to poor preparation for important series, so unless selectors adopt a “different players for different format” policy, we can expect more struggles.

      • April 11th 2018 @ 3:12pm
        Geoff Foley said | April 11th 2018 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

        Looks like we don’t even have the Zim test (nor the home July tests against Bang as listed in the FTP) anymore. Just the UAE vs Pakistan. Two tier test cricket being implemented informally already.
        Uzzie must stay now, who knows, he may even come good in UAE. Certainly will back on home tracks against up and down Indian bowling. SMarsh is whom Maxi will replace. No to Ferguson, Head and everyone he mentions. If they want to get rid of Uzzie it has to be someone like Doran, Weatherald or Dan Hughes. Have to go young (I know Head is but he is too inconsistent in Shield).

        • April 11th 2018 @ 5:15pm
          Stephen Vagg said | April 11th 2018 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

          Are those Bangladesh tests off now? That would be a shame – the last series was so good. Be great prep for the nw team.

          Doran promising but needs another few seasons I feel. Ditto Hughes (who is 29 I think – not young). Weatherld maybe just needs another season.

          • April 12th 2018 @ 8:18am
            Patrick Moran said | April 12th 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

            I’m trying to work out the upcoming test series as well. I also thought we had Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, but it appears that the Zimbabwe tour is now limited overs. I’m pretty sure Tim Paine mentioned the UAE as Australia’s next test destination in a post match interview, so I’m not sure what that means for the Bangladesh series.

        • April 14th 2018 @ 10:51am
          Bakkies said | April 14th 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

          Somerset must know something we don’t when they announced Renshaw to replace Bancroft they said he will return to Australia in July then come back to England around August 19 to complete the County season.

        • April 14th 2018 @ 5:48pm
          John Erichsen said | April 14th 2018 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

          What about Hughes’ first class performances suggest he is more consistent than Travis Head, despite being five years older?
          I agree that Head needs more consistency but anyone suggesting a 29 year old averaging 38, after 27 matches, should be considered for a test spot is delusional. He made 4 scores over 50 and no tons in his complete shield innings, averaging 41. Surely the baggy green has to be worth more than that? Renshaw, age 22, is a far better investment, (3 scores over 50 and 3 tons from his season, averaging 44 despite an abysmal start) as is Joe Burns, age 28, (3 scores over 50 and 2 tons, averaging 55). For the record, Head made 4 50+ scores and 2 tons, averaging 46. In my opinion, Ferguson and Maxwell should both be ahead of Head, Hughes and Weatherald for test consideration.

    • April 11th 2018 @ 12:52pm
      Kris said | April 11th 2018 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

      Improbable that we replace 4 of the top-6 all at once.

      • April 11th 2018 @ 1:04pm
        Stephen Vagg said | April 11th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

        That might be the thing that saves him. They’ll probably give Burns, Renshaw and Handscomb other goes, and stick with S Marsh. M Marsh is injured. Maxwell seems to be in the frame.

        • April 12th 2018 @ 8:49am
          BurgyGreen said | April 12th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

          If Mitch is still injured come our next Test, they’ll pick Stoinis ahead of Maxwell I reckon. Never mind that Mitch barely even bowls these days and doesn’t actually play as an all-rounder.

    • April 11th 2018 @ 12:54pm
      Pope Paul VII said | April 11th 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

      Maxi will replace Handy. In his short test career he has been preferred to Khawaja as well
      Gorgeous George is past it and wasn’t quite good enough when picked anyway.
      White past it.
      Head and Cartwright may contest but not before the 2 banger tests and first two tests of the summer proper.

      The notion that he has been overinvested in doesn’t stack up with reality or Australian cricket history. He’s missed about 40 tests since debut. Cowan played 18 in a row. Journeymen like Quiney, Doolan and Bailey all had a run.

      Who are some 40 plus averaging, 30 tests in 7 years, aussie test players, who’ve been given a worse run? Chris Rogers is the only one that comes to mind.

      Sure he’s in trouble if he has dodgy start to the Aussie summer but there is no way he will be dropped because the selectors are disappointed with his recent lack of runs, given the terrible lack of experience in the side as of the last test in Sth Africa.

      One thing though, he should open and Renshaw go to no.3.

      • April 14th 2018 @ 6:07pm
        John Erichsen said | April 14th 2018 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

        Why would a 22 year old opener be expected to bat at three? If Khawaja opens, it makes more sense to have Burns in the middle order as it better suits his style of play.
        Funnily enough, Shaun Marsh is probably the closest to matching your criteria, but David Hussey would have loved to have played 30 tests.
        in First Class cricket, tests excluded, Khawaja averages 43.56 with 16 tons and 31 x 50’s from 89 matches, Shaun Marsh ave 42.07 with 18 tons and 35 x 50’s from 111 matches. The lesser Hussey averaged 52.50 with 45 tons and 65 x 50’s from 195 matches. Neither Khawaja or Marsh should feel too harshly treated. Sadly, they both have, at times, been their own worst enemies.

    • April 11th 2018 @ 1:01pm
      Stephen Vagg said | April 11th 2018 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

      Both Head and Cartwright are playing county cricket – if they get some good scores then they’ll be pushing their names foward.

      Usman’s had a fair few chances – a decent run in 2010-11 then in 2013, then was dropped for form deservedly both times. Didn’t deserve to be dropped in India.

      re: your comment on him opening: I actually thought they might bring him in last summer to open with Warner but they went with Renshaw instead.

      • April 14th 2018 @ 10:52am
        Bakkies said | April 14th 2018 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        Cartwright is only on a early season contract with Middlesex he may get another deal or just come back to Australia.

    • April 11th 2018 @ 1:05pm
      jamesb said | April 11th 2018 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

      Ok, lets have a look at your alternatives

      Maxwell- more than likely that he would replace Handscomb. It’s interesting that you’ve written an article about Khawaja instead of Handscomb, especially when Handscombs technique has come under scrutiny. Plus the jury is still out on Mitch Marsh.

      Cartwright- had a dissapointing shield season where he only averaged 32

      Bailey- averaged 33 in the past shield season and is 35. Not the right numbers for selection

      White- He will be turning 35 in a few months. Did had a good shield season averaging over 50, but his home ground was the MCG, where the pitch favoured the batsmen.

      Head- He is 24, and averaged 46 in the SS. But i do think that he needs to do more.

      Meanwhile Khawaja averaged 86 in his brief time with Qld. To put things into perspective, Khawaja has a higher test batting average ( 42) over the FIRST CLASS averages of Maxwell (41)Bailey (39), White ( 40) and Head (36)

      As cricket fans, we have no choice, but to pick and stick for the next 12 months. There’s no real alternatives.

      • April 11th 2018 @ 5:22pm
        Stephen Vagg said | April 11th 2018 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

        I think Handscomb got a raw deal. He’d delivered for Australia had two dodgy tests and everyone started kicking him about his technique. I felt for the bloke it was horrible. He bounced back to get a Shield ton so his ability hasn’t gone. I think there was just an agenda to get Mitch Marsh back in the team.

        Agree jury out on Mitch Marsh – four great tests, four more than I thought he’d play… then three dud tests. And that first class batting average is still 30.

        Cartwright mostly had a bad season but his form recovered at the end and he still averages more than most Aussie batsman.

        Agree on Bailey’s numbers – just feel he’s such a good leader could be useful to have around the team. They may go for him.

        Head keeps improving IMHO – every season he seems to get better. This year played some classic vital Shield knocks.

        Feel Head and Maxell offer more in terms of bowling and fielding… Khawaja started the summer so well… don’t know what happened. He’s just so frustrating.

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