Usman Khawaja was dropped after the third Ashes Test. Picture: Getty Images
Usman Khawaja was dropped after the third Ashes Test. Picture: Getty Images

Langer: Door not shut on Khawaja

USMAN Khawaja's chances of reviving his turbulent Test career have been boosted by a rousing endorsement from Australian coach Justin Langer.

"There is no way the door is closed on Usman Khawaja ... no way,'' Langer said.

"In my 18 months (as Australian coach) one of the people I admire most is Usman - I think he is a brilliant player. Absolutely (he has a Test future) He's a gun mate. He will come good I am sure.''

Langer backed his high rating of the out-of-form batting enigma by co-selecting him as vice-captain in the Australia A side to face Pakistan in Perth from November 11.

 

Khawaja lost his Test place on the Ashes tour and some modest efforts after two white ball centuries this Australian summer had many fearing his Test career was on the brink of extinction.

There is a feeling his limited footwork gives bowlers the chance to short-circuit his scoring options and the pressure build-up often leads to an edge behind.

But the selectors still have him in the mix for one of two top order vacancies for the opening Test of the summer against Pakistan at the Gabba next month.

Australian coach Justin Langer has named Khawaja as one of two vice-captains in the Australia A side to face Pakistan in Perth. Picture: Getty Images
Australian coach Justin Langer has named Khawaja as one of two vice-captains in the Australia A side to face Pakistan in Perth. Picture: Getty Images

"Usman was one of the first players I rang from my driveway in Perth (when confirmed as Australian coach) because I have always admired his batting,'' Langer said.

"He got himself really fit for running between wickets. A highlight of my last 18 months was that catch when he brilliantly caught Virat Kolhi in the first Test in Adelaide because I could not imagine six months before he would be doing that.

"It is just a matter of time before he makes runs. He has started the season well in white ball cricket. I am absolutely convinced his hamstring injury was one of the main reasons we did not win the World Cup.

"We lost by 10 against South Africa and he did not bat after doing his hamstring. Our whole philosophy of our we were going to get through the World Cup about our top three getting through the tough first overs.''

Australia has an opening spot up for grabs and another in the middle order which will be made vacant by Mitchell Marsh.

Khawaja has been out of form but the selectors are mindful that though he averages 28 away from Australia his home average of 53 means he will not be overlooked despite the deepest consideration.

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News Corp Australia


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