Coach goes to bat for Uzzie

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - MUR­RAY WENZEL (AAP)

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.”

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