WITH questions being asked about the future of former Australian captain Ricky Ponting in the national side, Queensland batsman Usman Khawaja has the perfect opportunity to underline his credentials against former side New South Wales in Canberra starting today.
The 25-year-old has scored 430 runs at just under 48 in Sheffield Shield matches this season, including a brilliant 138 against Tasmania in difficult batting conditions two weeks ago.
Khawaja also scored two half centuries against the Blues when the sides clashed in Brisbane prior to the Tasmanian game.
Leg spinner Cameron Boyce has recovered from a finger injury and has been recalled into the Queensland squad, while all-rounder Michael Neser has been included for what would be his maiden first class appearance for the season.
Top order batsman Alex Kemp and paceman Alister McDermott have been left out.
NSW has also made two changes to the team that played a rain-affected draw against Victoria.
Mitchell Starc is on Test duty and fellow quick Trent Copeland has a strained ankle, the pair replaced by left-arm swing bowler Josh Lalor and leg spinner Adam Zampa.