Darren Lehmann thinks Usman Khawaja could feature in first Ashes Test

Darren Lehmann (right) is hoping to get his combinations right for the Ashes
Darren Lehmann (right) is hoping to get his combinations right for the Ashes
©REUTERS
 

Australia head coach Darren Lehmann believes Queensland batsman Usman Khawaja could feature in the first Ashes Test against England in Brisbane despite his indifferent form in sub-continent.

Khawaja, who was a regular member of the Test side, dropped out of contention during the Test series in Sri Lanka where he was left out for the third and final game prior to which he managed just 55 runs in four innings.

Despite making a successful comeback during the home series against South Africa and Pakistan in which he amassed 412 runs from six games, he was overlooked for the four Tests against India earlier this year with his ability to combat spin friendly conditions coming under the scanner.

The 30-year-old received high praises from captain Steven Smith and was named in the line-up for the first Test against Bangladesh in Mirpur, where he managed just two runs and was once again dropped for the second game in Chittagong with Hilton Cartwright taking his place.

Despite, the setback, Lehmann believes Khawaja has a good chance to feature in the opening game that kicks-off on 23rd November.

"I would think Usman would play the first test match, although I‘m only one of four selectors,” the coach said.

“Obviously for the make-up of the side we changed it here, but we think he’s a pretty special player and obviously he’s got a really good record in Australia."

Another position that will be debatable is the number six slot, which was occupied by Glenn Maxwell in the tours of India and Bangladesh.

The 28-year-old slammed a fantastic century against India in his comeback game in Ranchi that helped the baggy green side draw the game and scored 101 runs in the four innings against Bangladesh.

Highlighting that Maxwell's inclusion was more to do with the spin friendly conditions in sub-continent, Lehmann insisted that the performances in Sheffield Shield will be closely monitored.

“With number six in Australia, it’s totally different to Asia,” Lehmann told reporters before Australia left Bangladesh.

“We’ll certainly be looking at that position, and anyone can jump out of the pack in the three Shield games and what we think the best make-up is for that first test. Glenn is there at the moment, like everyone else, he’ll have to perform.”

Lehmann also lavished praise on the performances of David Warner and Nathan Lyon, who were named the men of the series in the series against Bangladesh and is certain of the duo playing a vital role in the series against England.

Assistant coach David Saker will take over from Lehmann for the limited overs tour of India that begins later this month with the former Australian cricketer, who is also one of the selectors is keen on getting the proceedings right for the all-important Ashes series.

© Cricket World 2017