A disappointed Usman Khawaja has vented out his dissatisfaction at the Australian selectors by citing their selection policy as ‘discouraging’ for his development. The stylish lefty, although set to bat at no. 3 in the upcoming Ashes series, has little experience of the longest format this year, having played just a single test against Pakistan with the year coming to a close. He was dropped for the away series against India. He did come back against Bangladesh but his poor showing in the first test saw him face the axe again.
Khawaja has long had problems facing spin. Last Monday while talking to ABC Grandstand, he said, “They never used to do it before, I’m not really sure why they do it now. It creates a lot of instability in the team I reckon, going in and out for everyone. You hear things like ‘the players are playing afraid’ or what-not, but that’s what happens when you drop players all the time. We’ve been doing that a fair bit lately. I know as captain of Queensland, I try and avoid that as much as possible; players I pick in the first game, I try to stick with them as long as possible, because they’ll always be the best players on the park. For some reason it seems like lately in Australia, the best players always seem to be the next guy in, which I don’t totally agree with.”
“[It is] very hard to develop your game and play some consistent cricket if you’re not getting consistent opportunities overseas, which I haven’t been getting. It’s frustrating but I’ve just got to focus on what’s in front of me. I’d love to win an Ashes series – it’s something I haven’t been able to do yet. There might be a few positions up for grabs depending on what happens in the [Sheffield] Shield games but I’m pretty confident they know what they [selectors] are expecting,” He said.
Khawaj concluded by saying, “There was a big change last year, we brought in younger players, [Matt] Renshaw, [Peter] Handscomb came into the team, they did that to develop them over time, not to throw them in the deep end of the Ashes and those two have played really well. So I think they’ve been planning for this for a while. There’s a fair bit of stability there.”
With the first test in Brisbane, it should boost Khawaja’s confidence as he struck four centuries during the 2015-16 test season.