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Usman Khawaja

No Usman Khawaja in Ian Chappell’s World Cup XI

Ian Chappell, the former Australia captain, sees no place for Usman Khawaja in Australia’s XI for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.

Khawaja has enjoyed a breakthrough year since returning to the one-day international side early in 2019, and has piled on runs relentlessly at the top of the order. He has been the most prolific one-day batsman so far this year, averaging 59.15 for his 769 runs, with two centuries and six fifties in 13 innings.

However, with David Warner and Steve Smith returning to the side after a year-long ban for ball-tampering, Australia face an influx of top-order batsmen that will necessitate several changes to their line-up.

Chappell believed Smith and Warner’s inclusion was non-negotiable, and with Khawaja not ideally suited to batting in the middle order, said his exclusion was unavoidable.

“They [Smith and Warner] have got to play. They’re way and above the rest of the batsmen, as we’ve seen," Chappell told World Wide of Sports. "Early on, when they were out [of the side], the batting really struggled. They paid their price for what they did, and as far as I’m concerned, they’ll be in the best side.

“Australia tend to do that at World Cup tournaments: pick who they think is their best side and stick with it. They don’t tend to chop and change too much.

"Khawaja could be one who misses out, with Warner replacing him. Smith will bat at three, I would have thought. It probably comes down to a choice between Shaun Marsh and Khawaja – one of those two will miss out."

Chappell added that he preferred Marsh over Khawaja, because of the former's one-day record over a longer period of time and the fact that he is better suited to the middle order. “I think [Khawaja] is more effective if he’s opening. [It's] the best place to bat in one-day cricket," said Chappell.

"The other concern you’ve got is Khawaja’s fielding – he’s not that flash in the field, in my opinion. If he’s not going to open, I’m not sure that there’s a spot for him. Marsh has a terrific one-day record and he’s certainly done it over a longer period than Khawaja."

However, Aaron Finch, the Australia ODI captain, believes there is room for both David Warner and Usman Khawaja in the top order. 

Chappell also backed the inclusion of youngsters Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson ahead of Josh Hazlewood, and picked Adam Zampa to be his first-choice spinner over Nathan Lyon.

"In the interest of a bit of variety, Behrendorff might come in [ahead of Richardson] to give them another left-armer,” he said. "You’ve got [Marcus] Stoinis as a right-arm quickie as the all-rounder, so they might go for variety.

“As far as the spinners go, I think the first choice will be the leggie, Zampa. But as the tournament goes on, and particularly if the pitches are starting to wear a bit, you could well see both of them in, although they may feel that [Glenn] Maxwell gives them the off-spin option without having to play the second spinner."

Afghanistan fans celebrate a boundary during the 2019 Cricket World Cup warm up match between England and Afghanistan at The Oval in London on May 27, 2019.


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