Coach goes to bat for Uzzie
QUEENSLAND coach Wade Seccombe is sick of the constant digs at Usman Khawaja’s body language, adamant the batsman sees a way back into Australia’s Test team.
Khawaja, who will captain the Bulls in tomorrow’s domestic one-day cup against Western Australia, was playing golf as the Test team prepared for this week’s clash with Pakistan at his home Gabba ground.
So long a staple of Australia’s top three, the 32-year-old finds himself behind state teammates Joe Burns and new No.3 Marnus Labuschagne, who both piled on the runs against the tourists on Friday and Saturday.
Khawaja, axed during the Ashes series, averages 40.66 in 44 Tests but that lifts to 52.97 at home and coach Justin Langer insists he’ll remain in the mix if he puts runs on the board.
Shane Warne wrote in a News Corp column on Thursday that he “just wants to shake him and get him to show a bit more” and that it was time for him to show how much he wanted to play for Australia.
Seccombe has no doubt there is a desire there and said that common knock on the classy batsmen was a frustrating myth.
“That’s such an unfair comment,” he said.
“It’s the old thing, if he doesn’t make runs people are critical, but if he does ‘he’s beautiful, it’s a fluent innings, we love the way he bats’.
“It’s just his persona on the field and he’s a calm character, and that calmness comes through and I don’t think you want to criticise a calmness in a player.”
Khawaja’s first innings for Queensland after missing Test selection was a gritty, unbeaten 86 to see them past Tasmania and ensure a home final later this week.
“That was a special innings,” Seccombe said.
“They were really tough one-day conditions, the ball seaming until or beyond the 40th over.
“You say mature, but it was just very classy.”
Former Bulls wicketkeeper Seccombe said that innings alone was enough to show Khawaja still wanted in.
“I believe he doesn’t think it [his Test career] is over,” he said.
“We’ve had a coffee recently and discussed all this; he’s very comfortable winning games of cricket for Queensland and if he wins games he knows he’ll probably get picked up here anyway.
“Personally, I think he’s in the top six batters in the country.”