Usman Khawaja replaces David Warner for the next two ODIs
Stylish Australian left-handed batsman, Usman Khawaja, has been called into the Australian squad for the next two ODIs of the ongoing 2016 VB Series against India to replace David Warner, with the latter being granted a leave on paternity grounds.
Warner and his wife Candice are expecting a second baby any day now, and the Australian opener has been allowed to accompany his wife.
Khawaja in astounding form
Khawaja, who has been in prolific form since the start of the Australian summer, would be joining the team in Brisbane ahead of the second ODI against the Indians on January 15 after the home side beat the visitors by five wickets in the first ODI in Perth.
“Usman has been in fantastic form this season and was unlucky to miss out on a place in our squad for the Victoria Bitter ODI Series in the first place,” Rod Marsh, the National Selector said.
“This call-up is a reward for that form and it is great to have someone of his quality to step into the squad in David’s absence. We wish both David and Candice well and look forward to welcoming David back into the squad when circumstances allow.”
The exit of the aggressive Australian opener should bring no relief to the Indian camp, as his replacement, Khawaja, looks to be in the form of his life, having already racked up three Test centuries in four matches, with a career best of 171 coming against New Zealand at the Gabba itself, since his comeback to the side.
He has been just as potent against the white ball as well, with his knocks of 109 against the Melbourne Renegades playing for Sydney Thunder, and a 42-ball 62 against Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League 2015-16 being the testimonies to the sublime form that he is in.
Hastings also called up
The left-hander is the second addition to the Australian XI that played at the WACA on Tuesday, as John Hastings was called up earlier to allow Mitch Marsh to rest for a game before the all-rounder from Perth returns to the fray for the third ODI in Melbourne.
Hastings had been nursing a shoulder injury this summer but is hopeful that he can contribute to his side’s magnificent run this summer. “It's been a tough couple of weeks actually. I've had a bad run with having a few accidents in the nets .. but I'm feeling really good at the moment, the body is pretty good,” said Hastings.
“If I do get an opportunity hopefully I can take it with both hands and contribute to wins. That's all I want to do is try and get in there and contribute to a team win.”
Australia have already taken a 1-0 lead in the five-match ODI series with their victory at Perth, and it is up to India now to try and find a way to fend off Steven Smith, who seems to have taken a special liking to the Indian bowling attack which he proved yet again by smashing a match-winning 149 at the WACA.