Warne demands more from struggling Khawaja
Shane Warne wants more from Usman Khawaja, urging the out-of-form Australian to be busier at the crease following his first-innings 17.
Former Australia spinner and cricket great Shane Warne believes Usman Khawaja has gone backwards amid his Ashes struggles, criticising the batsman’s lack of intensity.
Khawaja’s spot in Australia’s XI has come into question having only managed two half-centuries from five innings against England, the Queenslander far from his fluent best during the Ashes series.
The 31-year-old, who has amassed five centuries and 10 fifties in 27 Tests, was dismissed for 17 from 65 deliveries on day one of the Boxing Day showdown in Melbourne on Tuesday.
And Warne demanded more from Khawaja, urging the out-of-form Australian to be busier at the crease.
“He sort of got stuck down there,” Warne told Channel Nine. “He has had a good career. At times there he’s made some wonderful hundreds, but the downside to him is I think he lacks a bit of intensity, lacks a bit of energy, and he’s not busy enough.
“We know he’s got the talent, it’s more his body language and his intensity when he comes to the crease. Have a presence, he’s lacking that at the moment.
“Maybe it’s just his form is down, but for me he’s lacking some serious presence as a number three.
“We know he’s a good player but this is not good enough. He needs to be better than that.
“He can’t just stand there, block the ball and not have anything else happening. For me he’s got to be a bit more busy.”
Another former Australia international, ex-batsman Mike Hussey, pleaded for selectors to make a call on Khawaja.
“I’m sure there’s a bit of anxiety in Usman’s mind,” Hussey told Fox Sports News.
“This has to go one of two ways. If they think he’s the man and they back him, then just pick him all the time as Australia’s number three batsman, no matter where they are playing.
“If they don’t, then maybe it’s time to look somewhere else.”