October 16, 2017 / 11:46 AM / 2 months ago

Cricket: Khawaja criticises Australia's selection policy

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia batsman Usman Khawaja has criticised the country’s selection policy and says the constant team changes hampered his attempts to develop his all-round game.

Australia's Usman Khawaja reacts during a practice session in the nets at the Sydney Cricket Ground January 2, 2013. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne/Files

The 30-year-old left-hander scored 55 runs in four innings during Australia’s 3-0 test series defeat in Sri Lanka in 2016 before being dropped for the third test.

He then scored half-centuries in six consecutive home tests but did not play in the four-test series in India this year.

Khawaja was brought back for the first test in Bangladesh, only to be dropped for the second match of the series.

“They never used to do it before, I‘m not really sure why they do it now,” Khawaja told ABC Radio of the selection policy.

”It creates a lot of instability in the team I reckon, going in and out for everyone.

“You hear things like ‘the players are playing afraid’ or whatnot, but that’s what happens when you drop players all the time. We’ve been doing that a fair bit lately.”

The Pakistan-born cricketer has played 24 tests since making his debut in the 2011 Ashes series against England and has scored five hundreds, averaging over 45.

The Queensland captain is in good form in domestic cricket and is expected to earn a place in Australia’s top order in the Ashes series against England which starts next month.

“For some reason it seems like lately in Australia that the best players always seem to be the next guy in, which I don’t totally agree with,” he said.

”(It is) very hard to develop your game and play some consistent cricket if you’re not getting consistent opportunities overseas, which I haven’t been getting.

“It’s frustrating but I’ve just got to focus on what’s in front of me. I’d love to win an Ashes series - it’s something I haven’t been able to do yet.”

Khawaja believes the Australian selectors already know what side to pick for the five-test series against England starting in Brisbane on Nov. 23.

”I think the Australian team is pretty stable,“ he said. ”I‘m confident the selectors already know what their make-up of the team is going to be for the first test.

“There might be a few positions up for grabs depending on what happens in the Shield games but I‘m pretty confident they know what they’re expecting.”

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai,; editing by Ed Osmond

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