Australia news April 21, 2017

Khawaja frustrated by selection chain reaction

ESPNcricinfo staff

Usman Khawaja has not found a place in Australia's 15-man squad for the Champions Trophy © Getty Images

In January, Australia rested Usman Khawaja from the Chappell-Hadlee ODI series in New Zealand and chose instead to send him to Dubai to prepare for the Border-Gavaskar Test series in India. Khawaja, in the end, sat out all four Tests in India, with the selectors preferring Shaun Marsh in his middle-order role.

Khawaja, who has not found a place in Australia's 15-man squad for the Champions Trophy, has spoken of his frustration at missing the ODIs in New Zealand.

"Maybe when I was younger I would have been frustrated [at missing out on the Tests in India]," Khawaja told "In saying that obviously I would have loved to play in that Test series, [and] when I didn't get to play in that first Test I was a bit frustrated.

"I sort of had an idea I was not going to play in that first Test after I didn't get a run during the tour match. We played brilliant in that first Test match and we won. I was frustrated at the time, not so much because I didn't play in that Test match -- I understand the selectors, Boof [coach Darren Lehmann] and picking the best team and what was going on and I just want Australia to win.

"The most frustrating thing for me was not to play those three ODIs in New Zealand. Getting pulled out from them to come to Dubai to prepare for 10 days and then not play the first Test. So I actually miss out on the one-day matches for Australia. For me that was the tough part.

"I got pulled out of that series to prepare for India and then not playing was a bit hard."

Khawaja said he felt better after discussing his situation with Lehmann.

"To Boof's credit I had a chat to him about all that stuff and he came up to me and he actually knew where I was at in that things had not worked out, not being able to play the ODIs and come early to India, he knew exactly where I was coming from," Khawaja said.

"Once I chatted out to him it helped me quite a bit. He has seen it all, he has seen the ups and downs so after I had that discussion with him I was fine. I was just like 'there are few more ODIs coming up that I can look forward to'. After that chat I was fine and just trying to do the best for the team and be ready in case the opportunity did come up."

An ordinary record in Asian conditions may have hurt Khawaja's case in the head-to-head against Marsh. Before the India tour, Khawaja had scored 115 runs at 19.16 in four Tests in Asia, and 389 runs at 32.41 in nine first-class matches. Marsh, on the other hand, was seen as a subcontinent specialist, having scored two hundreds in three Tests there, all in Sri Lanka.

"It is tough one because the way I look at it was Reny [Matt Renshaw] and [David] Warner were going to open, [captain Steve Smith] was going to play, Petey [Handscomb] was going to play, it was probably going to be between me and Shaun Marsh and he got hundred in the last Test match in Sri Lanka.

"The selectors went for a gut feel I assume and that is their job," Khawaja said. "I'm at a stage now where there are things I can control and there are things I can't control so I don't bother worrying too much about it.

"I always want to be out there playing cricket. I have not played a Test match in India yet and it is hard fact to take it because at least I can prove to myself and to other people that I can do well out here. But on the same token as the saying goes on in sport 'if you hang on for too long there is more negative that comes out than positive'."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Allan on April 22, 2017, 2:19 GMT

    It makes no sense taking khawaja out of the NZ ODIs when he is our best opening batsman in both one dayers and tests. He averages over a 100 opening in tests and 50 in ODIs. He also plays spin really well in Australian pitches and should have been in the squad. He is also more athlethetic then the like of Finch and Bailey so not sure where this false perception comes from but most poeple dont' want to watch him take great catches in slips and gully but just hold on to old false perceptions. But for me the big question is not why have they risked Starc for an tournament less important then the ashes.They are doing no favours to Lynn by picking him, 50 overs is a long time to avoid diving in the field.Are we under pressure to pick our big names, i hope none of them get injured.

  • Mashuq on April 22, 2017, 1:27 GMT

    Khawaja ought not to have been taken to India at all since he himself conceded that he had not had the time to work on his technique against spin before the team was selected. Taking the Dubai route seemed a decent quid-pro-quo for pulling him out of the NZ ODIs but the reasoning all began to come apart as @Samroy points out, once Maxi was picked for Ranchi. He deserved a game on the tour but he could live with that. However, omitting him from the CT squad doesn't appear consistent or fair despite his lack of athleticism in the field. I hope that he gets a shot in the the squad to BD otherwise I'd begin to think they're messing with his mind. Pointless nailing him after his failures in SL but taking Davey along everywhere and indirectly putting the blame on the GOAT by discarding him again .

  • jamesa5207930 on April 22, 2017, 0:35 GMT

    I hope that I am proved wrong but Chris Lynn is a flat track hitter. He has a great eye and terrific bat swing but if the ball moves he will be ineffective. Khawaja should have been picked and James Faulkner ahead of Stoinis.

  • Izmi on April 21, 2017, 23:55 GMT

    I don't think neither Khawaja or Shaun Marsh is the answer to Australia's woes as they both have many weaknesses technically as seen during their careers in the last 6 years. While Khawaja may look very confident against good fast bowling he looks clueless against the turning ball as seen in SL and was dropped. On the other hand Marsh is very unpredictable and gets caught around the bat and the slips cordon more often against both spin and pace hanging his bat. While the Marsh brothers have had many chances to cement their place in the Australian cricket team in all formats of the game Khawaja has always been overlooked at the final whistle as seen in the last test series against India. Maxwell's inclusion for the injured Mitch Marsh instead of Khawaja was the right decision as he chipped in with a 50 and 48 runs in the two innings while many batsmen struggled against spin. Maxwell himself has had a raw deal from the Aussie selectors and should have had more opportunities.

  • Phil on April 21, 2017, 15:10 GMT

    @shekarmal86 well said mate, khawaja should be playing across all formats, he is a champion player. Also 'i am also worried about the frailty of a middle order of Head, Stoinis and Maxwell, but I'm not convinced these guys are the answer. For me white is the answer. White was the standout in the Matador Cup and he has the experience, but the selectors seem to have forever crossed him off the list.

  • Shekar on April 21, 2017, 14:54 GMT

    A good batsman is a good batsman. Are we going to start comparing good balls vs bad balls? It is batsmen that create "good balls" by not moving their feet...or moving their feet too much! Khawaja should have played. Marsh is nowhere near the batsman Khawaja is - across all formats

  • faiz on April 21, 2017, 14:03 GMT

    Aussie cricket is no different. Marsh was going to get the nod . Khawaja must know by now . Both marsh brothers have not done that well but keep getting chances and we all know why. .

  • Jonathan on April 21, 2017, 14:00 GMT

    @Paul_Rampley. No, UK is averaging 40 as an opener in ODIs, you do realize, I hope, that 'position 2' in stats guru is also that of an opener?

  • Allan on April 21, 2017, 13:39 GMT

    @Jono_M as opener khawaja is averaging 50 and he would have opened with warner. Khawaja fielded really well this test summer so this claim he can't field is false, just watch his last year of cricket especially with him in slips or gully. I still think Khawaja can become a very good ODI batsman. Among the top 50 runscorers in the history of Australian domestic 50-over cricket, only two players have better averages than Khawaja's 53 ……. Bevan (61) and Smith (55). He deserves inclusion and its very unfair he is not there. Also its good to see boof talk to him as boof is a fantastic coach. @hyclass I disagree with you and I think Pattinson would be a very decent back-up pace option for the Champions Trophy, although personally I think he's a much better bowler with red ball than white (he's averaged 42 with the ball in his 15 ODIs for Australia).Either he or Behrendorff should go as the extra quick.

  • Jonathan on April 21, 2017, 13:17 GMT

    Ussie is averaging 31 in ODI cricket and therein lies his omission. Even Travis Head who has come in and just been decent, nothing more, is averaging 38. UK is also the most one dimensional player in the top echelon of Aussie cricket, given that you need at least 6 bowling options in an ODI side you really need to be in the best 4 batsmen in the country to play as a specialist batsman, is UK one of those 4? Warner and Smith are clearly 2, UK is competing then against a big field of players that can also bowl and/or are gun fielders. He is a classy batsman and given his domestic List A record should be able to translate that into a top four spot in the ODI side at some point but he just hasn't grasped his limited opportunities to date.

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