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Khawaja needs to reset in Shield: Lehmann

Usman Khawaja's second innings in the Canberra Test against Sri Lanka could be his last against the red ball before a week out from the Ashes.

Khawaja needs to reset in Shield: Lehmann

Usman Khawaja's second innings in the Canberra Test against Sri Lanka could be his last against the red ball before a week out from the Ashes.

USMAN KHAWAJA of Australia celebrates after reaching his century during the Fifth Test match in the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at SCG in Sydney, Australia.
USMAN KHAWAJA of Australia celebrates after reaching his century during the Fifth Test match in the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at SCG in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Usman Khawaja's poor Test form has left national selectors in a conundrum, with former coach Darren Lehmann declaring Australia's No.3 needs a circuit-breaker before the Ashes.

Lauded for his match-saving 141 against Pakistan in Dubai four months ago, Khawaja has scored just 209 runs at 23.22 in the home summer.


The 32-year-old looked badly out of sorts as he fell for a third-ball duck in the first innings against Sri Lanka in Canberra, barely moving his feet before nicking a delivery from left-arm paceman Vishwa Fernando to the slips.

Khawaja has been entrusted with an anchor role in Australia's new-look ODI side but selectors must decide whether to retain him for white-ball tours of India and the UAE, which clash with the remaining Sheffield Shield matches.

Australia are understandably eager to lock down their best ODI side before launching their World Cup defence in England on June 1 but it may be in their best interests to spare Khawaja from the subcontinent tours.

"He's got to play the four Shield matches with the Duke ball," Lehmann said on Macquarie Sports Radio.

"The way he got out yesterday was unlike Usman Khawaja, it was a lazy shot.

"He's a better player than that."

With David Warner and Steve Smith returning, and Joe Burns and Marcus Harris finding form, Khawaja may need a statement long-form innings before the side for the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston on August 1 is picked.

The problem for Khawaja is where that could possibly happen given his schedule.

An Australia A side will also tour England this winter but it will run concurrently with the World Cup, potentially denying Khawaja another red-ball hitout.

Unlike Burns, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh, Khawaja doesn't yet have a county deal for next season.

It means Khawaja's next long-format match could be on July 23, when Australia play Australia A in the only lead-up match before the Ashes.

Australian coach Justin Langer came to Khawaja's defence when interviewed before play on day two in Canberra.

"We know he's a hundred-maker," Langer told ABC Grandstand.

"If you look over his career, he scores hundreds and he scores big hundreds. He's a very, very good player. He's the No.3 in the Australian Test team which usually goes to the No.1 batsman.

"He's working hard. He'll be fine."

AAP


AAP




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