Usman Khawaja has been named in the Australia squad for the upcoming Ashes series starting on December 8. The southpaw has earned a recall on account of performing consistently well in the Sheffield Shield for Queensland in the past two seasons or so. Khawaja will likely play in the middle-order if selected in the playing XI. Khawaja last played a Test match against England in the Ashes series in 2019.
He was later dropped from the team as Marnus Labuschagne cemented his place in the playing XI. With Travis Head showing some good form last summer, the Cricket Australia (CA) selectors named Khawaja along to lend solidarity in the middle-order. Uncapped leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson also finds a place in the 15-member squad.
He will provide a backup option to frontline spinner Nathon Lyon. Opener Marcus Harris has been included in the team, and will likely partner David Warner at the top.
In the pace department, Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson have been included along with the first choice fast bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood. “Jhye is seeing the rewards of concentrating on his red-ball cricket in the build-up to this series,” Bailey said according to Cricbuzz. “We know he has an exceptional skill set and are excited about what he brings to the team now his body is back on track.
Bailey further opined that Khawaja’s inclusion in the Ashes team for the first two Tests was due to his experience, and adaptability in the batting order. “Travis finished last summer strongly, second only to Cameron Green for runs scored, and has again started the season well. He drives the game forward and can put the opposition under pressure with his ability to score quickly.
“Similarly, Usman Khawaja has been in great touch. He brings a calm, consistent and experienced component to the batting lineup and is a proven run-scorer at the Test level. He also has the ability to bat across a range of positions in the batting order.”
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (C), Pat Cummins (VC), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner