Ashes: NSW’s Usman Khawaja called in as cover for injured Clarke

Monday, November 22, 2010

SYDNEY/BRISBANE - The Australian selectors have called in New South Wales middle-order batsman Usman Khawaja as cover for injured vice-captain Michael Clarke for the first Ashes Test to be played against England at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris confirmed that 29-year-old Clarke is no certainty to play due to ongoing concerns over his degenerative back injury.

Kountouris said Clarke missed the extended session at Allan Border Field with a view to being right for net sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Gabba.

Khawaja boasts a first-class average of 50.24 in 24 matches.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the 23-year-old’s selection in the squad comes despite making 13 and 0 for Australia A against England last week in Hobart, where another contender, Callum Ferguson, also failed twice with scores of 7 and 10.

However the inclusion of Khawaja is a snub for young all-rounder Steve Smith, who was in the original 13-man squad but seemingly has been pushed back in the queue in favour of left-hander Khawaja.

“As there is some doubt over Michael Clarke’s fitness for the Brisbane Test match, it was felt prudent to bring a standby player into the squad,” chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said.

“Usman has been added as a result of his strong recent domestic form,’ Hilditch added. (ANI)

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