After failing to defend the ICC World Cup trophy, Australia will shift their focus to the upcoming Ashes series starting from August 1 at Edgbaston. Star batsman Usman Khawaja who copped up an injury during the World Cup is running against time to regain fitness ahead of the first Test. Aussie skipper Tim Paine is also hopeful that Khawaja will be available for selection from the start of the all-important series.
Khawaja likely to regain fitness: Paine
Usman Khawaja sustained a hamstring injury against South Africa during the business end of the World Cup which ruled him out of the tournament. He has been one of Australia’s consistent scorers in the last one year leading the batting in the absence of David Warner and Steven Smith. With Australia’s four-day intra-squad match beginning 17 days after Khawaja sustained the injury, he will miss the practice game ahead of the Ashes. However, on a positive note, he has returned to training doing some leg work and batting at the nets.
An optimistic Tim Paine said he is hopeful about Usman Khawaja’s participation in the first Ashes Test starting from August 1. But going by Khawaja’s past experiences with hamstring, the management will take extra precaution before making him available.
“I don’t think he’s in serious doubt (of missing the first Ashes Test),” Paine said. “He’s in a rehab stage so the decision has been made that he won’t play at this stage. But we expect him to be fully fit and available for selection for the first Test,” he added.
Usman Khawaja has been Australia’s one-drop batsman since the last Ashes series in England four years ago, posting eight centuries and an average of 47.76 in that period. Although he had a tough outing against India earlier this year but made a comeback against Sri Lanka. The management will hope their star batter to recover and take the field at Edgbaston.
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