Oz selectors face hard choice to retain Ponting at No 3: Waugh

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

SYDNEY - Former Test captain Steve Waugh feels selectors face a hard choice on whether to retain Ricky Ponting as Australia’s No.3 batsman when he returns from injury.

Ponting is missing the fifth Ashes Test at the SCG due to a broken finger, a move that allowed young NSW left-hander Usman Khawaja to make his debut on Monday.

The 24-year-old made a controlled 37 on a rain-interrupted first day, a short innings, but one that showed Khawaja has plenty of promise as Ponting’s natural successor to the No.3 role.

Australia’s next Test following the final Ashes encounter is against Sri Lanka in August when Ponting should be fit to lead the national team, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Waugh said he doesn’t envy selectors who must decide whether to slot Ponting straight back at No.3 or keep Khawaja in that role.

“Ricky, look, he’s been a great player at No.3. That’s going to be a tough call for selectors. That’s why they’re the selectors and I’m not. They’re going to make their call, not me, and they’ve got to sit together and work it out,” Waugh told reporters today.

“There’s going to be a lot of opinion. Ricky has been a great No.3 and probably will continue to be a great No.3 but Khawaja, the way he played on Monday, he’s had such poise and he’s definitely the future of Australian cricket going forward,” he added.

Waugh said he had once again been enthralled at the venue on Monday watching Khawaja’s confident knock against England.

“Usman Khawaja batted very well, he had a lot of poise, temperament’s good, he looks like he’s ready to bat No.3 for Australia. I just like seeing someone debuting for Australia and doing well because I know how nervous you can be on the big stage,” Waugh said. (ANI)

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