Australia’s Opening Batsmen Usman Khawaja to Lead Australia
Australian opening batsman under pressure Usman Khawaja is frustrated after failing to convert a series of starts in the Ashes series likely to lead Australia in fourth ashes. But insists that his batting is in a right place while looking for form in the tour match against Derbyshire.
Khawaja, who will captain Australia in the three-day match while regular captain Tim Paine takes a break, has failed to score half a century in all three tests and has an average of 20 in a series adjusted to date.
Australia’s number three is barely alone in their fights, with only hitters Steve Smith (126.00), Marnus Labuschagne (71.00) and Travis Head (32.00) averaging above 30.
-Usman Khawaja Told Reporters-
I feel very well, batting. I haven’t made big runs lately, which is frustrating for me, and when you look at the team, you’d like the first order to be the one to score big runs. I think we’ve fallen short in the higher-order and I think (England) has also done so in a lot of the games.
I have many beginnings, and it’s not like I’m not in anyone’s territory. The most important thing is to capitalise in the beginning, because if you don’t capitalize, there are always times when you’re going to leave early.
England’s victory at Headingley levelled the series 1-1, raising the stakes before the penultimate test at Old Trafford.
As the headlines, Australia needs to win just one of the last two tests at Manchester and The Oval to make sure they retain the ashes, but the pressure returns to Paine’s side after they let a dominant position at Leeds escape.
Khawaja will open the inning with fellow opening batsmen Marcus Harris, who failed twice in a wicket defeat at Headingley after having replaced out-of-form Cameron Bancroft after the second test.
Since Labuschagne is expected to hold for Old Trafford and Smith to reinstate after missing the last Concussion Test, Khawaja’s promotion has provoked speculation that it could open with David Warner in Manchester.
The left-handed batsmen played at number three for most of his 44 tests matches but have an impressive average of 96.80 from his seven innings as a starter, including two centuries.
However, he had never opened in England before, and his negligible average of 19.66 in six tests away from the hosts suggests trouble handling the Dukes swinging ball.
-Usman Khawaja Cautious Fitting himself into Old Trafford-
I’m not sure right now, because Smithy’s there too, trying to get a game. But right now, it’s just about some guys going out, playing cricket, worrying about this game, getting ready for the next game and whatever’s out of our control, just leaving it that way.
Along with Paine, Warner, mid-order hitter Travis Head and the entire Australian bowling attack from Headingley will rest for Derby’s game.
However, available left pacemaker Mitchell Starc and fellow pacemaker Peter Siddle have been chosen on the Khawaja team and have the opportunity to push to be selected at Old Trafford.