Usman Khawaja was “extremely disappointed” there was no room for him in Australia’s limited-overs set-up despite unavailability of Steven Smith and David Warner, and has indicated that “training hard” will be a key to his return to the team’s white-ball ranks.
Despite an outstanding recent record in domestic cricket and a handful of useful displays in sporadic ODI opportunities for Australia, there was no room for Khawaja in the first squad to tour under the coaching of Justin Langer. This has meant greater first-up opportunities for the likes of Shaun Marsh, D’Arcy Short and Travis Head.
Khawaja was hesitant to give away too much detail about his omission – after previously being castigated by the selection chairman for his comments – but strongly indicated his disappointment at the decision. “I was extremely disappointed in all honesty,” he told RSN Radio. “I’ve had a lot of chats to the selectors and a couple to JL about it. I was a bit disappointed but some things you can’t control, so hopefully I’ll get a chance over the next year.
“At the moment, I just assume they didn’t want me in the team because they just didn’t want me in the team”
“I scored a lot of runs in one-day cricket for the last five or six years, especially in domestic cricket, even when I’ve been away, a couple of Aussie A tours, so I’m not sure there is a lot more that I can do other than keep trying to score runs and hopefully I get a chance.
“At the moment, I just assume they didn’t want me in the team because they just didn’t want me in the team. There’s not much other than that like … my record in one-day cricket is better than my red-ball record funnily enough and my Big Bash record … sometimes things just don’t align.
“I’ve had some really good chats with JL, he’s been really clear about everything, and hopefully if I put my head down, keep training hard, doing all the right things that at some stage if an opportunity comes up then I’m still quite in line, talking to him and talking around. I think the door’s still there, I’ve just got to put my head down and hopefully an opportunity will present itself.”
Last year Khawaja had ruffled plenty of feathers by saying that selection policy for Asian Tests, namely his omission from the batting order on the 2017 India tour, had caused “a lot of instability in the team”. He subsequently criticised the media for reporting these comments, in a radio interview with the ABC’s Jim Maxwell. In recent times Khawaja has done little other than to indicate how hard he has been working, posting Instagram videos of interval training before his departure to play county cricket for Glamorgan.