Finch backed, Khawaja makes candid admission
Chairman of selectors George Bailey insists Aaron Finch is the prime choice to skipper Australia in the T20 World Cup despite his lean output with the bat, while Usman Khawaja has revealed he’s “stopped giving a crap” about limited-overs cricket.
Finch struck 55 from 45 to lift Australia to victory in a 20-over match against Pakistan this week, but the big-framed right-hander averaged just 15.60 in his side’s previous series and 19.28 in last year’s T20 World Cup.
But Bailey has backed the 35-year-old to be at his damaging best for the World Cup, which is set to take place across October and November in Australia.
“He’s said it himself that he’d have liked to have contributed more… he’d like to be scoring more runs,” Bailey said.
“We have so much cricket from now until that T20 World Cup and the build-up to the one-day World Cup (in 2023) that he’s got a great opportunity and probably now a little bit of time to focus… on a couple of little technical things that he wants to work on, which is great.
“I’m confident Finchy will come good and be firing in the lead-up to and including the World Cup.”
Bailey also defended the captaincy of Finch, who’s led Australia since 2014 in the T20 format and 2017 in one-day cricket.
“The leadership he provides, the way that T20 team and the one-day team has been building, we’re starting to get some good buy-in to the way we want to play on the back of the way the squad played in that T20 World Cup,” Bailey said.
Khawaja has rejuvenated his Test career in remarkable fashion, compiling 751 runs at 125.16 since returning to the side in this year’s SCG Test.
The silky left-hander made twin tons in the Sydney Test and carried his phenomenal form into the three-match series in Pakistan, in which he registered another two centuries.
But he hasn’t played a one-day international since copping the axe during the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.
“I haven’t bothered asking (why), to be honest,” Khawaja admitted.
“The last time I got dropped from the white-ball squad I was averaging over 50 and I think I was the second- or third-highest run-scorer in that calendar year for white-ball cricket.
“After that happened, I pretty much just stopped giving a crap about it, to be honest.
“If they want to pick me, they can pick me. If they don’t, my head’s not really there.”
Khawaja returned to the Test side when Travis Head was felled by COVID-19, slotting in at No.5.
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“I love playing for Australia, I’m always ready to play, but I guess from the past and seeing what happened in the past in white-ball cricket, it was pretty disappointing,” Khawaja said.
“I’m still very fortunate and lucky that I get to play Test cricket and for Queensland back home.
“At the moment, I just focus on what’s ahead of me, what’s in front of me and what I actually have. If any of the other stuff comes up, I’d love to do it. I just don’t really think about anything that I don’t have right in front of me here and now.”
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