Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has said that despite being such a good batsman, Usman Khawaja‘s road to a return in the Australian side might be a very difficult one.
While in an interview to ABC Grandstand, Ponting said, “I honestly think now he’s going to find it difficult (to get back into the Australian team) and I feel for him. I love Usman Khawaja, I got really close to him over the last 10 years since he made his debut and I talk to him quite regularly. I’ve always felt he’s a very good player and we probably never saw the absolute best of him at international cricket. We saw glimpses of it, and dribs and drabs, but not the consistently good player I thought he could have been for Australia.”
Khawaja, now 33 years old, was dropped from the Australian One Day squad last summer after suffering an injury right before the semi final of the World Cup. He was also left out of the recently announced central contracts list for players due to his poor returns in Sheffield Shield, Australia’s premier domestic 4-day competition, in which he scored only 202 runs in 11 innings at an average of 18.36.
Despite not having a contract at the moment, Khawaja remains optimistic about his chances of returning to the Australian side. Three weeks ago, Khawaja was quoted by Fox Sports as saying, “Age is just a number and if you’re performing, you’re performing. It’s not like I’m 37 or 38 and coming into right at the end of my career.”
Khawaja’s technique against spin bowlers has come under the radar, as well as his athleticism on the field. About the issues he has had against spin, Khawaja boldly claimed, “Without sounding arrogant, I still feel like I’m one of the top six batsmen in the country. My playing against spin has been right up there as some of the best in the county. Bar maybe Steve Smith, who is an absolute genius. But the most important thing is to score runs.”