A year ago, Usman Khawaja wasn't even in the frame to travel to England for the grand event, but the suspensions imposed on David Warner and Steve Smith along with a new coach presented him a new lifeline. After a 2-1 defeat to South Africa in November last year, Justin Langer felt he needed a top order batsman that played authentic cricket shots and could lay the foundation for the rampant middle order.
Khawaja fitted into Langer's scheme of things perfectly. The left-hander has never looked back since and has arguably been Australia's best batsmen in the last three months. Since returning to the ODI setup at the start of the year Khawaja has scored 769 runs at 59.15 with two hundred and six half-centuries. Importantly, he has accumulated those runs on the dry, low and slow pitches in the subcontinent against quality spinners. Khawaja's form has been a revelation and the return of Warner as an opener should see him start the World cup campaign at No.3 for Australia.
For now, Khawaja knows his role and game completely. He has been told to anchor the innings without worrying too much about his strike-rate. But with the pitches in England expected to be batting friendly, he will need to boost his strike-rate of 83.58. There is also theory that his recent runs have been scored against a fatigued Indian team and a second rate Pakistan line-up.
Teams will study his strengths and weakness in greater detail at the World Cup. He will need a Plan B at his disposal if Plan A doesn't work. Plus there is the additional concern about his fitness, although he has shred close to eight kilograms in recent times, he is still considered a liability in the field. But every time doubts have been raised over his batting, Khawaja has found a new dimension to elevate his batting to a new level.
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Updated Date: May 16, 2019 14:05:26 IST