Usman Khawaja has said that he is ready to fill in for Travis Head for the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney. Australia received a setback ahead of the Sydney Test when the left-hander tested positive for COVID-19.
The middle-order batter became the first player from either side to contract the virus, and will now miss the fourth Test. In his absence, Khawaja is one of the contenders to play the game.
Speaking to cricket.com.au, Khawaja expects to get into the groove if he replaces Head in Sydney despite not playing competitive cricket for over a month. Eyeing a comeback hundred, Khawaja is looking forward to rediscovering his rhythm, saying:
"It's always nicer when you're coming off games – I haven't played for a month now – but it shouldn't take too long hopefully, if I play and get out there, bat for half an hour and get into it, I should find that sync again."
"It's one of those things where even if I do play, it'll only be for one game … I understand that situation … hopefully I can go out there and score a hundred and do well for the team in the absence of Heady."
Khawaja last played for Australia in the third Test of the 2019 Ashes series. The Pakistan-born Australian batter was the designated number three before Marnus Labuschagne's meteoric rise forced him out of the team. Khawaja averages a healthy 40.66 in 44 Tests, scoring eight tons.
"There's a lot of cricket still to come up" - Usman Khawaja
Khawaja knows there is plenty of cricket still to be played, and has his sights on Australia's sub-continent tours in 2022. The 35-year old feels he is in good physical condition, saying:
"There's a lot of cricket still to come up. I'm just putting my head down, making sure I'm working really hard and doing the best I can for Australia whenever I get the opportunity."
"I'll potentially have one game for Australia here, but even if that doesn't happen, I know there's still … a lot of cricket in the subcontinent which I feel I'm very suited to, and which I'm looking forward to hopefully being a part of moving forward. I'm in the best cricket conditioning, and I don't get as sore as I used to. I love it, still enjoying it, very competitive."
In contrast, England only have pride to play for in a series where nothing has gone their way.