Marsh: Khawaja did everything we asked


Australia selector Rod Marsh has admitted that batsman Usman Khawaja was very unlucky not to be picked for the ODI squad to face New Zealand, and that Khawaja could not have done more to impress selectors.

The Sydney Thunder batsman was in sublime form during the Big Bash League, and added to his form in Tests this season, his omission came as a surprise to most.

But Marsh said they wanted the batsman, who averages more than 140 across all formats this season, to play in the Sheffield Shield instead, to prepare for the Tests against the Black Caps next month.

When asked how close Khawaja had been to being picked, Marsh said on the CA website: "About as close as you could be without being chosen. He’s in red-hot form and it’s a shame we can't fit him in.

"It’s the only rationale that I can give – we tried our hardest to work him into the side but we just couldn't find anyone to drop or leave out of the side because they're all in fantastic form.

"We would love to have him in the side and to be able to pick 16 or 17 because I think there are 16 or 17 players who deserves to be in our one-day side.

"We've got two very important Test matches and there being no guarantee Usman would have played if he was in the (squad) then he’s better off playing a Shield game (against South Australia at Adelaide Oval starting February 3).

"That’s the way we decided. It’s really sad but it’s really healthy. It’s probably why we're winning, we're leaving out players that deserve to get chosen."