Australia leave out Usman Khawaja for Auckland ODI
Australia have decided to drop their inform batsman Usman Khawaja for the opening game of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy which is scheduled to be played in Auckland on Wednesday.
Australia will be facing a rampaging New Zealand side who have won their last four bilateral ODI series at home.
Shaun Marsh will be opening the innings alongside David Warner after Aaron Finch was ruled out of the series with a hamstring injury that he sustained during the recently concluded Twenty20 International series against India.
In the three matches Shaun played against India, he managed to score 140 runs at an average of 46.
Steven Smith will return to the number three position after he was rested for the final two T20Is against India while George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell will join him in the top five.
Matthew Wade will don the wicket-keeping role while he will be surrounded by all-rounders Mitchell Marsh and James Faulkner at either side.
Josh Hazlewood will lead the pace attack after he was rested for the series against India and he will have the support of John Hastings and Kane Richardson leaving Maxwell and Smith as the only spin options.
Smith stated that Shaun deserves the first crack in the ODI side against New Zealand after utilizing whatever chances he got in the summer.
However, he has not ruled out Khawaja's inclusion in atleast one of the remaining two games.
"Shaun (Marsh) has been in the squad, he played well in Australia and I think he deserves the first opportunity, so he's going to get that out here tomorrow," Australia captain Smith said.
"He's unlucky to miss out but Shaun's going to get the first opportunity," Smith added.
"He'll play one of the (three ODI) games at least.
"He does need a hit going into what is a big Test series and he's batting extremely well.
"(Marsh) deserves the first opportunity.
"No doubt he'd (khawaja) be frustrated. He's hitting the ball extremely well.
"But the one-day side is a tough side to break into."
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said that he was surprised by Australia's move to exclude Khawaja but at the same time is aware of the damage Shaun can cause after being at the receiving end in their day-night Test encounter.
"I was a little bit surprised about it (Khawaja's omission) to be honest," McCullum said.
"He's been the form batsman in the Australian summer, across all different forms of the game as well.
"He's in some incredible touch. The guys who has replaces him, Shaun Marsh, is a very, very good player as well.
We saw that when we played against them (Australia) in Adelaide.
"The thing about Australia is that they've got so much depth they can afford to have guys missing from their line-up but they're going to be replaced by guys who are equally as strong. "
Australia will look to win the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy from New Zealand after losing it during their 2015 World Cup encounter against the Black Caps in Auckland.
Australia XI for First ODI against New Zealand:
1 Shaun Marsh, 2 David Warner, 3 Steven Smith (captain), 4 George Bailey, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 John Hastings, 10 Kane Richardson, 11 Josh Hazlewood
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