TOP MAN: Usman Khawaja has been in great form for the Thunder in the Big Bash and in Test matches this summer.
TOP MAN: Usman Khawaja has been in great form for the Thunder in the Big Bash and in Test matches this summer. GETTY IMAGES

Khawaja the name on everyone’s lips

After Australia's batting woes against spin in the first T20 international against India in Adelaide, one obvious solution is right under the selectors' nose - Usman Khawaja.

The 29-year-old is in the form of his life, scoring three Test and two Big Bash hundreds this summer, as well as a match-winning 70 for the Sydney Thunder in the BBL final last Sunday night.

It is hard to comprehend how he has been left out of the T20 squad, and also the one-day squad which will tour New Zealand next month, although national selector Rod Marsh did say he would be surprised if Khawaja wasn't in Australia's 15-man squad for the coming ICC Twenty20 World Cup in India.

In the meantime, several batsmen will have another chance at the MCG tonight to show they should be in the World Cup squad.

The first audition for some of them didn't go to plan in Adelaide, with tweakers Ravi Ashwin (2-28) and Ravindra Jadeja (2-21) claiming the honours as Australia lost 4-21 following a fast start from openers Aaron Finch and David Warner.

Steve Smith fell for 21, spooning a simple catch to Virat Kohli at mid-off from Jadeja's bowling.

Smith clearly seemed distracted by talking to the Channel Nine commentary team seconds before, while miked up.

All-rounder Shane Watson fell for 12 to Ashwin, and, while careful not to say Khawaja should be in the Australian T20 team, spoke glowingly of the in-form stroke-maker.

"It's as good as I've ever seen anyone bat, and I've been very fortunate to see a lot of great players play," Watson said.

Ashwin was dropped after posting figures of 0-60 in India's seven-wicket loss to Australia in the second ODI at the Gabba on January 15.

He said he had worked hard to earn a recall.

"I wasn't playing, so I went and practised harder, and when the chance came I wanted to do better," he said.


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