The Weekend Post : 2019-01-12

Sport : 57 : 57


SPORT 57 CAIRNSPOST.COM.AU SATURDAY JANUARY 12 2019 EVERY GAME ON Register today at SUPERCOACH.COM.AU But he’s none the wiser on reasons why JULIAN LINDEN UNWANTED in Australia’s ODI team for almost two years, Usman Khawaja has had plenty of time to reflect on what he’s done wrong but still doesn’t have an answer. He doesn’t know what he’s done differently either to suddenly get a recall for the threematch series starting against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground today – but he’s not complaining. At 32, Khawaja knows he’s been given a fresh chance to re-establish himself as a limited overs international player and with the giant carrot of a 1ST ODI played a straighter bat than Cheteshwar Pujara did in stonewalling the Aussie bowlers during the Test series. “I’m not sure to be honest, I’m not a selector,” he said. “Probably, there’s lot of reasons but I’m not sure. “It’s always tough to play in any Australian team. You just have to keep performing and scoring runs and hopefully get your chance, so I’m just very grateful to be representing Australia again.” His modest statistics do offer a few clues. In his 18 pre- vious ODIs, the left-handed batsman averaged just 31.26 at a strike rate of 82.28, with no hundreds. He’s also suffered from the widely held perception that he’s better suited to the longer formats of the game, a notion he says is baseless. “I think I’ve performed well enough in white-ball cricket over the last few years,” he said. “I just like the different challenge, it’s obviously white ball compared to red ball, Test match compared to one-day and T20. They’re all very different, they all present different challenges.” Khawaja will bat today at No.3, his preferred position. He opened in the last Test against India and while he said he’s happy to bat wherever coach Justin Langer wants him, given a choice, he would take first drop every time. With Steve Smith and David Warner both expected to be rushed straight back in as soon as their bans are lifted, Khawaja is among a handful of top-order batsmen pushing for AUSTRALIA V INDIA Today 12.20pm live on spot in the World Cup at stake, he’s happy to let bygones be bygones. Asked why he thought he’d been left out for so long, he New-look list shapes up for WC Smith cops elbow injury BANNED former Test skipper Steve Smith has been forced to fly home from the Bangladesh Premier League after suffering an elbow injury playing in the T20 competition. Smith, who is trying to get as much cricket under his belt as possible before his international playing ban ends on March 29, requires an MRI and will miss at least the next two games for the Comilla Victorians. A spokesperson for the Victorians said Smith was “positive” about returning to the competition as early as next week. ALEX Carey will open the batting, Jason Behrendorf will make his ODI debut and Nathan Lyon will serve as frontline spinner against India at the SCG today when Australia seek to shore up their World Cup defence. Selectors have made six changes to the side that lost to South Africa at Bellerive in November, Australia’s previous one-dayer, as they urgently attempt to find the right balance less than five months out from the World Cup. Carey, one of few locks in Australia’s 15-man World Cup squad, has never previously opened for Australia but will now shoulder the same responsibility he does at the Adelaide Strikers. “It’s just an opportunity to see Alex play in a position he’s done quite bit in Big Bash and (domestic) one-day cricket,” skipper Aaron Finch said. “It’s a position he’s performed really well with in the last couple of years.” Australia’s World Cup campaign starts on June 1 in England, leaving them scant time to settle on a first-choice XI. “It’s still enough time to get it right and make sure, come that World Cup, that we are ready to go with a really balanced and settled side,” Finch said. Siddle’s ODI exile is over NO Australian has waited longer for an ODI recall than Peter Siddle, who has used the Big Bash League to catapult into World Cup calculations. The 34-year-old will face India at the SCG today in his first ODI since 2010. Siddle’s break between 50over games for Australia is unprecedented, with the previous longest stretch being wicketkeeper Tim Zoehrer (1987-94). Siddle no longer boasts express pace but has earned a reputation as being the Adelaide Strikers’ ice-cold finisher with the ball. JULIAN LINDEN NATHAN Lyon has always had an appetite for hard work but the GOAT is still hungry for more. He’s worked like an ox for the Australian Test team, bowling more than 21,500 deliveries, but his lack of ODI ap- Dhoni adding value without runs Kohli steps back from talk show pair HIS run productivity has dropped of late, but former captain MS Dhoni is continuing to play a key role in the Indian one-day team, heading into their series against Australia. Dhoni, who relinquished India’s one-day captaincy two years ago, will bring up 50 ODI appearances against Australia if he plays in two out of the three matches. The 37-year-old wicketkeeper/batsman, who made his ODI debut way back in 2004, INAPPROPRIATE comments have cast a shadow over India’s Test celebrations and ODI preparations, with Virat Kohli making his displeasure clear as Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul face suspension amid a sexism scandal. Kohli is yet to hear from India’s board whether Pandya, a gun allrounder who is normally an automatic selection in India’s one-day team, is free to play today’s SCG series opener. Pandya and Rahul’s recent appearance on an Indian talk also played 90 Tests and 93 T20 internationals, remains an asset to Virat Kohli, the man who took over his leadership of the Indian one-day side. “All the years we’ve seen what sort of presence he has in the dressing room and on the field,” India’s one-day vicecaptain Rohit Sharma said. “‘With him being around there’s a sense of calmness around the group which is very important. “He’s like a guiding light around the group.” The Board of Control for Cricket in India is under mounting pressure to take swift action, having issued both players with show-cause notices. Kohli distanced himself and his team from views that Pandya and Rahul – who was unlikely to play regardless – expressed about women. “Any inappropriate comments that are made in that scenario are something that we definitely don’t support,” Kohli said. averages 50 after 332 games, though he averaged just 25 last year. Valued for his ability as a finisher, 2011 World Cup-winning captain Dhoni, who has show, during which the former had detailed how he had bragged to his parents about losing his virginity, has created a storm in their homeland. V1 - CCPE01Z01MA

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