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World Cup a major goal for Usman Khawaja

Usman Khawaja hasn't given up hope of taking part in Australia's World Cup defence as selectors prepare to pick an ODI squad for the series against India.

World Cup a major goal for Usman Khawaja

Usman Khawaja hasn't given up hope of taking part in Australia's World Cup defence as selectors prepare to pick an ODI squad for the series against India.

USMAN KHAWAJA of the Bulls leaves the field on Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Victoria at the Gabba in Brisbane, Australia.
USMAN KHAWAJA of the Bulls leaves the field on Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Victoria at the Gabba in Brisbane, Australia. Picture:Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Australia's XI for the fourth Test isn't the only dilemma occupying selectors' thoughts, with an upcoming ODI squad to hold several World Cup pointers for Usman Khawaja and other hopefuls.

Australia face India in a three-match ODI series that starts in Sydney on January 12.


Planning for Australia's World Cup defence, especially how best to reintegrate Steve Smith and David Warner after year-long suspensions, has begun.

But no shortage of questions remain over Australia's 15-man squad for the 50-over tournament, which starts in England on May 30.

Khawaja, currently the first batsman picked in the Test side, has't played an ODI in almost two years.

The classy left-hander's most recent extended run in the national 50-over side was in a 2016 tri-series in the West Indies, where he played every game and scored more runs than any Australian apart from Smith.

Since then, Khawaja has dropped 10 kilograms and taken his game to another level.

"One of my major goals is still obviously to be a part of that World Cup squad," Khawaja told AAP.

"At the moment I'm just really concentrating on this Test series ... if you start thinking about other stuff and get too far ahead of yourself, that's the last thing I want to do."

Smith and Warner are expected to be part of Australia's World Cup squad, with Khawaja keen to see the suspended superstars back "as soon as possible".

"I've always supported Steve, Bangers (Cameron Bancroft) and Davey," Khawaja said prior to the Boxing Day Test.

"They're a great bunch of blokes and all great players."

Khawaja hasn't recently spoken with national coach Justin Langer about his ODI ambitions but the pair have previously had "really good chats" about the topic.

"It's all been really good," Khawaja said.

"I'm quite happy with where things are at the moment. I'm really comfortable with how my cricket is going.

"At the moment I'm planning for what I do know. That's this Test series."

Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Marcus Stoinis, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Chris Lynn and D'Arcy Short headline the other candidates to join Smith, Warner and captain Aaron Finch in Australia's top six at the World Cup - and keep Khawaja out of the squad.

The upcoming ODI series is also likely to afford fringe pacemen a chance to shine in the absence of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

Langer has already flagged the prospect of the star trio being rested.

AAP


AAP




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