Khawaja Focused on QLD Runs
Back in Australia on the fast and bouncy wickets he’s best accustomed to, Usman Khawaja is looking ahead to piling on the runs in the domestic one-day cup to force his way back into Australia’s Test team.
The 29-year-old was dropped – along with Joe Burns – from the Australian side for the third Test in Sri Lanka last month after being the two batsmen to struggle the most against the home side’s spinners on the typically dry subcontinental pitches.
Khawaja scored just 55 runs in the opening two matches in Kandy and Galle as the tourists went on to a crushing 3-0 series loss.
“It was tough to not play that last Test match, it’s never easy being dropped regardless of the circumstances,” Khawaja said on Wednesday.
“I didn’t fully agree with it but at the end of the day it’s out of your hands and you’ve just got to roll with the punches.”
Australia rebounded from the Test whitewash to claim the ODI and T20 series but Khawaja only contributed 48 runs across four matches.
He was left out of Australia’s one-day squad to tour South Africa starting later this month and has now set his sights on domestic duties for Queensland.
Starting in October, the Bulls play six one-day cup matches and one Sheffield Shield game against NSW before the opening Test of the summer against South Africa on November 3.
Australian coach Darren Lehmann has already indicated that Khawaja and Burns, who scored heavily in home Tests last summer, are in a strong position to get picked against the strong pace attacks of South Africa and Pakistan this summer.
“I don’t feel like I’ve lost touch or I’m out of it,” Khawaja said.
“It’s about going back to Matador Cup (one-day cup) doing well for Queensland. Hopefully we can win a trophy and then I can be there for that first Test in Perth (in November).”
Khawaja, who averages more than 44 from 17 Tests, has been in and out of Australia’s top eleven since making his debut in the 2011 Ashes series.
He admitted it was a struggle to adapt to spinning wickets in Sri Lanka.
“We learned a lot from it, the more we play in those conditions, the better we’ll get,” he said.
“It’s not natural for us Australians but as long as we’re improving and not making the same mistake that’s all we can ask.”
Australia’s next trip to the subcontinent is to play India in a four-Test series in February and March.
“There’s no point looking at India if I don’t score any runs this summer,” Khawaja said.
“We need to win at home first and we’re playing against two quality attacks.”