Sport

Gannon anoints batsman Khawaja as Hussey replacement

Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja Brendon Thorne / Getty Images

ACCORDING to his Sheffield Shield teammate, Usman Khawaja needs to be Mike Hussey's Test replacement.

As Australian state representatives prepare for the resumption of the Sheffield Shield after the completion of the Big Bash League, Cameron Gannon has a message for Australian selectors.

The former Ipswich Grammar School student, now Queensland Bulls fast bowler said Khawaja, in his first season with the Bulls, is "one of the most talented batsmen I've ever seen".

"I think if Australia is serious about becoming the number one Test team again he has to be (Hussey's replacement)," Gannon said.

"He's just class."

Khawaja has been listed as a possible replacement for Hussey who retired from Test cricket earlier this month. Other contenders include Phil Hughes, Rob Quiney and Alex Doolan.

Khawaja has long been recognised as a talented batsman but there have been concerns raised about his dedication to fielding and training but Gannon dismissed them.

"He's as hard of a worker as I know," Gannon said.

"I don't know where that idea he's not dedicated in the field came from."

Gannon's comments were echoed by Queensland coach Darren Lehmann who praised Khawaja's skill and his coachability.

"I think he's in the best six in the country," Lehmann said.

"But that's my personal opinion, I'm not a selector.

"I think if they gave him a chance and let him have a good run at it he'd be fine, but again that's the selectors' call.

"He's been really good and he's slotted in really well.

"Obviously it's difficult coming from one state to another but he's been fantastic ... he listens and wants to learn."

Khawaja was called into the Australian one-day squad to play Sri Lanka this season but was dropped after his first match.

If he is not recalled to the team for Australia's series against West Indies, starting February 1, Khawaja can expect to play alongside Gannon in Queensland's Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia at the Gabba from February 4.

It may prove a blessing for the talented bat as it will give him a chance to adjust to first-class cricket and possibly strengthen his Test claims.

Topics:  big bash league, cameron gannon, darren lehmann, queensland bulls, sheffield shield, usman khawaja



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