OPINION: Usman Khawaja's Ashes snub would be a crime against cricket

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Queensland batter Usman Khawaja is building an irresistible case to be recalled to Australia's Test side. Pic: Getty
Queensland batter Usman Khawaja is building an irresistible case to be recalled to Australia's Test side. Pic: Getty

OPINION

It's not just Usman Khawaja's mountains of runs speaking the loudest ahead of what should be a recall to the Australian Test team.

The 34-year-old's gentle crack at a member of Australian cricketing royalty – Ian Chappell – during the week said as much about where Uzzie's head is at as the runs flowing from his blade.

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While there are signs of stress and anxiety among our other top order contenders, a relaxed and confident Khawaja deftly clipped Chappell off his pads after the ex-Australian captain declared the left-hander only scored runs against mediocre opposition.

A smiling Uzzie responded: "Chappell is not even the best player in his family, so if I’m going to take advice, I might take it from his younger brother, who I get along with very well too. GC (Greg Chappell) is a legend."

Greg Chappell weighs into debate

Greg Chappell is a big Usman Khawaja fan and loved what he heard, not because it was putting big brother Ian in his place but because it was the perfect response from a player comfortable in his own skin.

"It's not the first time that line's been used. It was around the Waugh brothers at some stage," he told SEN Radio's Matt White.

"In the context of the interview, I think he tried to make it as light-hearted as possible.

"Commentators are entitled to their opinions but equally he's entitled to have his say.

"Uzzie's a bit of a prankster so I'm sure he enjoyed getting that little shot across the bow to Ian.

"He'll be focused on getting as many runs as he can and hopefully gets himself back into the Test team."

 Usman Khawaja of the Bulls bats during day one of the Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Western Australia at the Gabba (Photo: Getty Images)ES)
Usman Khawaja on his way to a defiant 70 during day one of the Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Western Australia at the Gabba (Photo: Getty Images)

Khawaja's case for selection in the Australian team to meet England in next month's Ashes opener is now irresistible.

Former Aussie Test fast bowler Brett Lee said on Wednesday that selectors simply "had to pick" Khawaja after his latest heroics for Queensland in the Sheffield Shield.

He has scored 396 Sheffield Shield runs at 79.20, including a defiant 70 as Queensland crumbled for just 129 against WA on a Gabba greentop this week.

BTW, that's the same wicket square Australia will begin its Ashes defence against Anderson, Broad and Co in less than a month's time.

Khawaja is at the peak of his powers both physically and mentally.

It would be a crime if Uzzie was overlooked

As a former playing colleague said: "Uzzie desperately wants to play for Australia again but it won’t define his career if he doesn't.

"He has plenty to go on with if they overlook him. That's a good place to be.

"Sometimes in cricket you can want something too much and it distracts you from the immediate job at hand.

"Uzzie is just playing in the moment while others might be thinking too much about what's up ahead."

Khawaja can do no more.

To overlook him would be a crime against Australian cricket.

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