"Just the progression of the game" - Usman Khawaja admits leaving out Steve Smith for T20 World Cup 2024 would have been hard for Australia

New Zealand v Australia - Men
Steve Smith is not a part of Australia's T20 World Cup 2024 squad. (Image Credits: Getty)

Australian Test opener Usman Khawaja believes it wouldn't have been an easy decision to leave Steve Smith out of the T20 World Cup 2024 squad. However, Khawaja reckons such has been Australia's depth and the progression of the T20 format that the selectors weren't left with a choice about Smith.

Keeping in mind Smith's T20 World Cup record and his recent performance in T20Is, the selectors decided to omit the 34-year-old from the squad. The selectors have dismissed the need for an anchor role and have instead chosen all the bonafide six-hitters as Australia look to lift their second title.

Speaking to Wide World of Sports, Khawaja admitted that it was hard to figure out a spot for Smith and make up the balance of the side at the same time. But the 37-year-old trusts that the selectors would have made plenty of deliberation on it.

"He's been such a great player for such a long time, but it was always one of those cases where you have to look at team balance, and it was getting harder to figure out. You had Marsh, Head, and Warner up the top and then you sort of have to figure out 'well, where do you want to put Smudge? Four? Is that his best position, or do you think he's better at the top? Khawaja said.
"I'm sure the decision wasn't made lightly – Smudge had been such a terrific player for such a long time (but) it's just the progression of the game. It's never easy to fit 15 players, and I'm sure it was a very hard decision in a lot of respects," he added.

In 19 T20 World Cup games, Smith has managed only 190 runs and was part of the squad in 2010 that ended as the runners-up.

"You don't want to leave experience out when it comes to World Cup" - Usman Khawaja

Usman Khawaja. (Image Credits: Getty)
Usman Khawaja. (Image Credits: Getty)

With the selectors sticking to David Warner instead of the in-form Jake Fraser-McGurk despite the latter's form in IPL 2024, Khawaja agreed with the decision.

"When you get into a pressure situation of a tournament, you would always want a little bit more experience than not. I think Fraser is probably only going be a chance to bat in one of the opening slots the way he's going at the moment … so who do you leave out? Warner or Head? Heady's been on fire, then you've got someone like Dave who's got the experience. You don't want to leave experience out when it comes to World Cup situations – you play clutch matches, you play do-or-die matches and experience normally always trumps that," he explained.

Warner struggled in IPL 2024, scraping through to 168 runs in eight matches with a solitary half-century.

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