Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/1/31/hussey-earmarks-khawaja-for-test-spot

Hussey earmarks Khawaja for Test spot

UPDATED 07 February, 2013 2:59PM AEST | by Carly Adno, Omnisport 17

Mike Hussey has backed Usman Khawaja to be his long-term replacement in Australia's Test side.

Hussey's surprise retirement has left a hole in Australia's batting order, but the 37-year-old has urged the selectors to give Khawaja a good run in the side.

Speaking after Western Australia's Ryobi Cup win over NSW at the SCG on Wednesday night, Hussey said Khawaja was an 'unflappable character' who would be able to handle the pressures of international cricket.

"The thing about Usman is that he's played well, consistently over a period of time now," he said.

"He has been around the Australian team - he's been on standby for Michael Clarke for a couple of Test matches - so in my mind I think he's the next one in line.

"Given an opportunity and an extended run I think he'd do a great job.

"He's a great guy, he's someone who knows his game really well, I think he's got a great temperament for Test match cricket."

Khawaja has replaced David Warner in Australia's squad for the first two ODI matches against the West Indies after Warner was ruled out with a fractured thumb.

The opener was struck on his left hand by a Mitchell Johnson delivery in the nets and, while the fracture is a minor one, the selectors didn't want to risk him.

Hussey said it's an unfortunate injury as Warner was starting to build his confidence.

"That's terrible luck because he's been playing well," Hussey said.

"I think he's getting a lot of consistency to his game and that's a big blow for Australia coming into this one day series for sure.

"But I guess it's going to give an opportunity to someone else, maybe it's an opportunity for Shane Watson to get back up the top of the order and get some confidence back that way."

Watson only managed six runs for NSW against Hussey's WA, but Hussey expects the all-rounder to make a quick return to Australia's set-up once he's fully recovered from a calf injury.

"He'll get better and better the more he plays," Hussey said.

"It's very good for Australian cricket that he's back out there playing.

"He can definitely play a crucial role for Australia, whether it's high in the order or in the middle order, so I hope certainly to see him back in there."

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

First Posted 31 January, 2013 11:42AM AEST

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