Cricket great backs Usman Khawaja for shock Ashes recall

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·Sports Reporter
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Usman Khawaja (pictured) celebrating his century.
Mark Waugh has thrown Usman Khawaja's (pictured) name in for Test selection after his recent form. (Getty Images)

Aussie cricket great Mark Waugh has backed Usman Khawaja to be in the mix for an Ashes recall after his form in the Sheffield Shield.

Australia's Ashes squad could have a spot to fill due to Will Pucovski's latest concussion setback.

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Khawaja, who has 44 Tests to his name but hasn't featured since August 2019, is among those who could come under consideration to open alongside David Warner.

With a potential Test spot up for grabs, Khawaja has taken the opportunity to put forward his best foot.

Batting at No.4 for Queensland against South Australia, Khawaja compiled 174 in the Sheffield Shield. 

And former selector and cricket great Waugh said Khawaja's name must be in contention.

“Normally I’d say you’d probably go past him," Waugh said on RSN Central.

"But I think with the lack of depth in that opening spot, I think you’ve got to think about him."

Mark Waugh backs Khawaja recall

Waugh said Pucovski would be an instant selection if fit.

However, Australia might have to go for the experienced player in-form.

“He’s aged 34, we know he’s a class player, he made that 174 in the Shield match. What’s the other options?" Waugh added.

“You’ve got Marcus Harris who hasn’t played yet, but he is going to play these three Shield matches at the end of October, back-to-back.

“He averages 23 in Test cricket, he hasn’t really stamped himself.

“You’ve got Pucovski who would be a walk-up starter, but once again he’s got concussion issues."

Khawaja's chances also look decent after men's selector Tony Dodemaide said incumbency wouldn't be a major factor in selection due to such a long Test lay-off.

Usman Khawaja (pictured) playing a cover drive during a Sheffield Shield match.
Usman Khawaja (pictured) batting for the Queensland Bulls bats during day three of the Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and Queensland. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

"It's terrific that so many players are actually putting their hand up and at the start of an Ashes series you'd be disappointed if that wasn't the case," he said.

"If you're an Australian cricketer and you've got a pulse you want to play in the Ashes and so it's really pleasing to see that players are putting their hand up around the country.

"For me, everyone starts with a clean slate, absolutely. There is a challenge in terms of opportunity, where the players at the moment do have that opportunity to put their hand up.

"I'm really hoping, particularly from a New South Wales and Victoria point of view, that those games materialise shortly so there is more of a chance for players to compete and put their name up."

Dodemaide said incumbent players were "there for a reason" but were no guarantee to hold their spots, and emphasised maintaining a balance of experience and next-generation talent.

with AAP

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