Watson backs Khawaja ahead of Pakistan series

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Melbourne: Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has backed the selection of left-hand batsman Usman Khawaja ahead of the upcoming two-match Test series against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The 37-year-old stated that Khawaja is a world-class batsman and the selectors should take care of him in the future as well.

“I hope ‘Uzzie’ (Khawaja) gets a really good run. He’s one of our world-class batsmen across all formats. He just needs to have the confidence instilled in him by the selectors and by the coaching staff, to let him play with the freedom he does when he’s at his best,” Cricket.com.au quoted Watson, as saying.

“When he is at his best he’s one of the best ones we’ve got. So they need to look after him. If they keep playing him for one or two Test matches and then dropping him, that’s not getting the best out of him,” he added.

Pointing out at the lack of depth in the Australian batting order, the former cricketer said that with Steve Smith and David Warner handed over a one-year ban, the selectors should not miss out on the potential talent and they should be more consistent with the selection process.

“We don’t have a lot of world-class batsmen at the moment around Australian. They (Selectors) just need to get a lot more consistent with selection. Trust their instincts on who they pick and also trust they’ve picked the world-class players we’ve got and stick with them. Just because you don’t score runs for the first couple of games it doesn’t mean you’re done and there’s someone waiting in the wings ready to take off and kill it,” he added.

The Australian team had to go through a major reshuffle after their captain Steve Smith and opener David Warner were handed a one-year ban following a massive ball-tampering scandal during the third Test match against South Africa at New Lands. They are struggling since then to fall back in line.

The team were thrashed 1-4 by England in the recently concluded five-match ODI series.

Australia are slated to play a two-match Test series against Pakistan beginning October 7.