Khawaja knows he could be squeezed out
Usman Khawaja might be one of Australia's most in-form players in any format, but he does not necessarily expect to be part of the starting XI for the World Twenty20 in India. Khawaja opened the batting and scored 33 from 25 balls in Australia's win over South Africa in the third T20 in Cape Town on Wednesday, a win that secured them a 2-1 series victory.
But in none of the three games did Australia use the same opening combination, instead testing all options ahead of the World T20, with David Warner set to stay down the order. In game one, Khawaja opened with Aaron Finch, in game two it was Finch and Shane Watson, and in game three Watson and Khawaja were used as the opening pair.
Khawaja only made his T20 international debut this summer but has been consistently scoring runs in every format at almost every level this season. However, Watson's all-round value and the experience of Finch, the No.1-ranked T20 international batsman in the world and until recently Australia's captain, could mean Khawaja misses out.
"We've got world-class players in our team," Khawaja said after the third match in Cape Town. "Finchy didn't play today and he's one of the best T20 players in the world, so we've got a lot of batting depth and strength.
"Finchy was there before I was, when I came into the team he was T20 captain. He's been there and done it, I was the player coming in. I sort of expect him to come back into the team. Then Watto's been such a great player for Australia, in particular with the white ball. His white-ball form lately has been great. He offers a lot with the ball too.
"The dynamics are pretty simple. We're pretty good mates off the field. I've known Finchy since I was a kid, we've been playing cricket together since we were kids, we're the same age. Obviously I play with Watto at the Thunder so it's a good relationship."
In the win at Newlands, Watson made 42, captain Steven Smith top scored with 44 at No.3, and Warner in his new middle-order spot managed 33 at No.4 to help Australia to victory. Most members of the squad were used in at least two of the three matches in South Africa as Australia sought to settle their preferred XI ahead of the World T20.
"First and foremost we won the series," Khawaja said. "We wanted to go into the World Cup on a winning note. It's always a little bit tougher when you haven't. The fact that we won is a big bonus. I think everyone just about in the squad has contributed somewhat in the last three games, which is nice."
Australia play a warm-up match against West Indies in Kolkata on Sunday, ahead of their opening match of the tournament proper against New Zealand in Dharamsala on Friday next week.