Cricket Australia Items/news/2012/12/3/khawaja-downplays-test-prospects

Khawaja downplays Test prospects

UPDATED 12 February, 2013 4:00PM AEST | by Adam Lucius, Omnisport 30

Test hopeful Usman Khawaja is refusing to speculate on where he sits in the queue to replace Ricky Ponting after dominating the NSW bowlers in Queensland's Ryobi Cup win on Sunday.

The ex-Test No.3 smacked 85 from 102 balls in a timely knock ahead of a decision on Ponting's successor.

Khawaja will receive another chance to press his claims for a Test recall when he captains the Chairman's XI against Sri Lanka in Canberra this week, but the Bulls opener is trying his best to ignore all the speculation.

"I've been in this situation before and you can either make a meal of things or just go out there and play," he explained.

"I'm pretty confident that selectors already have a fair idea (on who will replace Ponting).

"I think they know who they're going to pick and what they want.

"It's not too much pressure on me. I just need to go out there and just have fun."

Khawaja felt his career stalling at NSW but has found a new lease of life in Queensland under coach and former Test batsman Darren Lehmann.

He credits Lehmann's uncomplicated approach to the game for clearing his mind and freeing the way for a run-laden start to the season.

"I'm playing with a bit more freedom. It's a bit of a different approach, but everything else is pretty similar," Khawaja explained.

"He (Lehmann) talks to you and he keeps things really simple."

Khawaja's knock enabled Queensland to reach 292 from their 50 overs at Manuka Oval - and they always had the Blues on the back foot during the ensuing run chase.

But an unlikely 81-run partnership between Ben Rohrer (80) and tailender Josh Lalor (26) handed the Blues a late lifeline.

Once that partnership was broken, the Bulls quickly wrapped up the NSW innings for 262.

Rohrer said: "We were in the box seat at one stage. It was definitely a winnable game.

"It was just disappointing to lose so many wickets early and not have a bank of wickets for the last 10 overs.

"If we had, we might have got home."

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 03 December, 2012 7:00AM AEST

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