Khawaja expects to be fall guy for Finch
MELBOURNE – In-form Australia batsman Usman Khawaja expects to be squeezed out of the top order in favor of former captain Aaron Finch when they kick off their World Twenty20 campaign against New Zealand next week.
Khawaja scored 33 in an opening partnership of 76 with Shane Watson as Australia cruised to a series-winning six-wicket victory over South Africa in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Australia tried different opening combinations in all three matches of the series, with Khawaja and Finch teaming up in the first in Durban and all-rounder Watson and Finch in the following match in Johannesburg.
Khawaja has plundered runs in all formats since being recalled for Australia’s test series against New Zealand last year but only made his T20 debut against India in January.
Finch boasts a fine T20 record, however, and Khawaja said his more experienced team mate was likely to be the preferred choice in Steve Smith’s team. “Finchy didn’t play today and he’s one of the best T20 players in the world, so we’ve got a lot of batting depth and strength,” Khawaja told reporters in Cape Town.
“Finchy was there before I was, when I came into the team he was T20 captain. He’s been there and done it. I sort of expect him to come back into the team. “(Selection) is part and parcel of the game,” he said. “I’ve been on both ends of it and I’m just so nonchalant about it now. I’m just chilled out.”
Australia were thrashed 3-0 on home soil by World T20 hosts and favourites India in January but the South Africa series win was a timely boost, Khawaja said.
“We wanted to go into the World Cup on a winning note,” he said. “It’s always a little bit tougher when you haven’t. The fact that we won is a big bonus. “I think everyone just about in the squad has contributed somewhat in the last three games, which is nice.”
Australia, bidding for the one world championship which has eluded them, play West Indies in a warm-up match in Kolkata on Sunday before meeting New Zealand in their tournament-opener in Dharamsala. -Reuters