Sri Lanka in Australia 2012-13 November 30, 2012

Khawaja earns chance against Sri Lanka


Usman Khawaja and Alex Doolan will have the perfect chance to push their claims to become Ricky Ponting's Test replacement after being named in the Chairman's XI squad to take on Sri Lanka in Canberra next week. Khawaja will captain the side for the three-day game and while most members of the team are younger players who have been rewarded for some early-season form, all eyes will be on Khawaja and Doolan.

Cricket Australia emphasised that the squad was chosen before Ponting made his decision to retire from international cricket, meaning the match is not intended as a bat-off for Test selection. Phillip Hughes is also a strong contender to take Ponting's place, although it would require a reshuffle in the Test batting order, but for Khawaja especially runs against the Sri Lankans would be a case of perfect timing.

Khawaja, 25, is third on the Sheffield Shield run tally this summer with 438 runs at 39.81 and his century in extremely difficult conditions in Hobart earlier this month was especially impressive. Doolan, 27, appears an outside chance at best of earning a Test call-up but a hundred against the Sri Lankans to add to his unbeaten 161 against South Africa for Australia A would form a compelling case, in addition to his 409 Shield runs at 58.42.

"It is a talented team that has an ideal mix of youth and experience," the national selector John Inverarity said. "Usman Khawaja has been nominated as captain. He, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Doolan and Scott Henry have been released from their BBL franchises to take this opportunity to further their experience in the longer form of the game.

"They are players who have shown some excellent form in recent months and will be looking to enhance their claims for higher honours. Dean Solway from the ACT is a talented young batsman who will be keen to impress on his home turf.

Scott Henry, Marcus Harris, Travis Head and Sam Whiteman are young left-handed batsmen. Each has produced at least one outstanding first-class innings recently and Whiteman will be given an opportunity to display his skills as an accomplished wicket-keeper. Luke Butterworth is an experienced medium-fast swing bowler who bowls with great accuracy and will provide great stability to the attack."

The match is Sri Lanka's only warm-up ahead of the first Test, which starts in Hobart on December 14. The CA Chairman's XI take on Sri Lanka from December 6 to 8 at Manuka Oval in Canberra.

CA Chairman's XI Marcus Harris, Scott Henry, Usman Khawaja (capt), Alex Doolan, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Sam Whiteman (wk), Luke Butterworth, Chadd Sayers, Matthew Gale, Ashton Turner, Dean Solway.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sanjaya on December 5, 2012, 0:47 GMT

    this team will be able to beat sri lanka. cant understand why sri lanka did not pick ajantha mendis

  • Mark on December 3, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    I think Usman Khawaja would be a better choice to replace Ricky Ponting. He should be given a fair chance to prove his place in Australian XI. Pick up Khawaja...

  • Rahul on December 2, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    @Moppa, @Meety and @Ross_fleming are correct, given we are talking about the number 4 slot or at best 3 Khawaja is the best option in the coutnry for this. Hughes is a opener, noting more to be said there. In today's Ryobie cup Khawaja got another high score of 85 and continues to pile runs. We can't reshuffle the entire batting order just to make room for Hughes, doesn't work that way.

  • Phil on December 2, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    I said at the start of the season that i wasn't sure about Khawaja and in particular his issues regards his trigger movements in his technique. Khawaja continues to prove me wrong, i was not sure about him earlier in the season but he is scoring runs and that's all can be asked of him. NSW won the toss today and put the Bulls into bat as it rained in the morning and there was a bit of juice in the pitch but he handled the tough conditions with the familiar ease he has shown all season. Again he got runs in tough conditions to show that he is exactly the batsman we need in our top order given our familiar top order collapses. Hopefully he gets a big one in the chairman's X1 to cement his spot in the Australian team at number 4, he is the best man for the job.

  • Ross on December 2, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    @Moppa and Macca_Mat have summed it up the best, given the position we are talking about is 4 or 3 Khawaja is the best candidate, Hughes is the best opener we have. Watson is much better at facing the faster bowlers so keep him at 3 and bring Khawaja at 4. There is no way Hughes can be bought in at 4, he has never batted at that position in shield but Khawaja has.

  • Ross on December 2, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    @Hyclass Khwaaja got a 85 in overcast conditions when NSW send the Bulls into bat. His running between the wickets looked sharp and what about his brilliant catch at covers. Surely its time even for you who is consistently negative about him to acknowledge his talent. Given the position vacant is a number 4 he is the best candidate to fill that spot. And yes he is a great ambassador for the Asian migrants in Australia and has opened doors for many youngsters who previoulsy didn't bellieve they could earn a baggy green. Classy left hander.

  • Andrew on December 1, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    @Edwards_A on (December 01 2012, 11:40 AM GMT) - I didn't actually say that it should be Khawaja in for Punter. I do think he has the inside running though. I think the issue now is, Oz have the chance now to restructure the batting line up. Does Watto go down the order? Does Pup go up the order? IMO, - IF, Oz slot a "new" batsmen in @ #6, it almost definately has to be Khawaja (Maxwell 2nd for the allround option, maybe at the expense of Watto). IF Oz slot the "new" batsmen in @ #3 - it could be either Hughes or Khawaja, with Hughes having the better record this summer he stands a real chance of being selected @ #3. @ross_fleming on (December 01 2012, 11:44 AM GMT) - rightly or wrongly, I think it may not be JUST about #3 or #4, it could be about #6 too. There are a lot of variables, I do rate Hughes as a genuine chance for a spot in the top 3, I think Khawaja is the prime candidate for a #6 spot. The variables are where will Pup, Huss & Watto (if at all), bat?????

  • Ross on December 1, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    Agree with Moppa and Meety, the spot in question is 3 or 4, Khawaja is a better option then Hughes in this spot as Hughes is good opener. If we were talking about the opening slot then I would say Hughes is the man. But for Punter's replacment it has to be Khawaja without a doubt.

  • Allan on December 1, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    @Meety agree with you chapm, Khawaja is the man to replace Punter, I like Hughes but he is our future opener, Khawaja will slot in well at 4.

  • Mariam on December 1, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    I won't even waste my time trying to get Hyclass to see impartially as he writes only on Khawja and only in a negative manner. The fact is that Khawaja was asked to improve on 2 things, fielding and running between wickets, he has done both in abundance this year. Furthermore he has scored on extremely difficult tracks against Tasmania where he outscored Tasmania and also against a star NSW attack where he outscored the likes of Clark, Warner and Watson. He has the best technique out of all the younger batsman going around and he has to be the best replacement for Punter. The fact he is captain against the Sri Lankans in the warm up game shows the selectors are seeing the improvements they wanted. Good luck to him. Hughes is our long term opener not a batsman to come in at 4 and we can't reshuffle the entire batting lineup for him.

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