Spin wizard Shane Warne has come down harshly on batter Usman Khawaja, questioning his commitment towards playing for the national team. The batsman has been ignored from Australia's Test squad against Pakistan after an extended run of poor form in international cricket and in the Sheffield Shield. The Pakistan-born is now gearing up to lead Queensland in the domestic limited-overs competition final against Western Australia.
Warne, in his column for News Corp, lauded the national selectors Trevor Hohns and Justin Langer for dropping Khawaja from the Ashes squad. Warne said,
“Justin Langer and Trevor Hohns have done a good thing with Usman Khawaja. By leaving him out they have asked him to show how important Test cricket, and playing for Australia, is to him."
Warne further added,
“Throughout his Test career, he always seems to do just enough. Sometimes you just want to shake him and get him to show a bit more. Different personalities make up the team and some people aren’t as exuberant and emotional as others, but he can be better, particularly with his body language.”
Khawaja, who has been at the receiving end of a number of umpiring errors in the Sheffield Shield, has been in stunning form in the 50-over competition, amassing scores of 138, 112, 5, 31 and 86* to help his side into the finals of the Allan Border Finals.
Also see – Big Bash League points table
On his part, Khawaja rejected Warne's fears that his passion for playing for Australia has diminished and even brushed aside all questions about his on-field behavior by saying,
"I don't think there's any need to answer that question. I’m a batsman, I’m a run scorer first and foremost so that’s my currency, but if you look at my Shield record, you look at my one-day domestic record, my record for Australia, my BBL record, I score runs. That’s all that matters. Not really [going to change my body language], I’m a pretty cool bloke. You either get it or you don’t, that’s the way it is.”
The top-order player averages around 41 in the longest format of the game, which lifts to an impressive 52.97 at home. However, inconsistencies and poor technique overseas led to his ouster, and he will now hope for a strong showing in the finals to regain his spot back in the national team.