Usman Khawaja has called for former Australian skipper Steve Smith to again captain Australia once Tim Paine’s tenure ends. Tim Paine took over as Australia captain from Steve Smith in 2018 after the duo of Steve Smith and David Warner were banned for ball tempering offence for a year from international cricket.
The Queensland skipper said if Steve Smith who was stripped of the Test captaincy after the South African sandpaper scandal again wanted the job, it should go to him, despite some calls among ex-players and fans for vice-captain Pat Cummins or batting sensation Marnus Labuschagne to succeed Tim Paine.
Usman Khawaja: Steve Smith Should Captain Australia If He Wants To Do So
Steve Smith might replace Tim Paine as the skipper if there is no other option available for Australia in the aftermath of their humiliating defeat against India in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar 4 Test series earlier this week by a margin of 2-1. Tim Paine has led Australia in 23 Tests since succeeding Steve Smith in 2018, winning 11 and losing 8 games with 4 draws. Steve Smith had won 18, lost 10 and drawn 6 Tests when he led Australia from 2014 to 2018.
“If Steve Smith wants to captain Australia, I think he should captain Australia,” Khawaja said.
“He’s our number one batsman, he’s done it before, he’s paid for his mistakes, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be in line for the captaincy if wants to do it.”
Usman Khawaja said there had been no discussions among the Queensland hierarchy about batsman Marnus Labuschagne taking over the Queensland Bulls captaincy to prepare him for the possibility of him leading Australia in the future. He added that Marnus Labuschagne had not approached him for any captaincy or leadership tips.
The pair will be key to the Queensland Bulls’ hopes of winning their Sheffield Shield clash against Western Australia starting on Saturday at the Gabba.
Usman Khawaja Felt Nice To Get Support From Ex Skipper Michael Clarke Who Called For The Left Hander’s Recall
Usman Khawaja brings great form into the match after scoring an unbeaten 115 in Queensland’s three-wicket win over Tasmania at Blundstone Arena last month. It’s his form that has led to former Test captain Michael Clarke calling for the 34-year-old left-hander to be recalled to the Australian team. Usman Khawaja, who has scored 2877 runs in 44 Tests at an average of 40.66, has not played for Australia since August 2019.
“It’s always nice to get support from an ex-Test captain. He’s a gun player himself, but I don’t read too much into it,” Khawaja said.
“I feel good. All season actually I’ve felt really good. Sometimes that always doesn’t translate to runs. You can’t get too relaxed on yourself and think that things are going to work out. There’s still a lot of hard work to be done. When things are going well, you just try to keep doing the same thing for as long as you can, because there are plenty of time when things don’t go well, no matter who you are. Hopefully I can keep getting runs for Queensland and we can win more games.”
The Queensland Bulls currently top the Sheffield Shield ladder but are wary of a West Australian side containing Test all-rounder Cameron Green.
“WA play quite well here too most times. They have a similar wicket at home, they have a bouncy track, and I think out of all the teams, they handle these (Gabba) conditions as well as anyone,” Usman Khawaja said.
“(Green) batted beautifully last year in the second innings here … he’s going to be a big one.”
Usman Khawaja scored an unbeaten 115 against Tasmania in his last first-class game and followed it up with 93 against the same opposition in List A-game. Cameron Green recently scored unbeaten 168 against South Australia in his last First-Class game and then 144 against the same opposition in List A.
Cameron Green scored his first one-day hundred from 82 balls, powering the latter part of Western Australia’s innings with some fierce strokeplay, but Travis Head responded in kind with a brilliant 68-ball century as West Australia won by 13 runs in a 725 run affair. Shaun Marsh and Harry Nielsen too struck tons.