AAP & Cricket Network
AAP & Cricket Network
Back in Australia on the fast and bouncy wickets he's grown up on, Usman Khawaja is looking to pile on the runs in domestic cricket in order to force his way back into Australia's Test team.
The 29-year-old was dropped along with Queensland teammate Joe Burns from the Test XI for the third match in Sri Lanka last month after managing just 55 runs in the opening two Tests of the series, as the tourists' batsmen struggled to contain the home side's spinners on the typically dry subcontinental pitches.
The hosts went on to record a crushing 3-0 series win to strip the Australians of the world No.1 Test ranking they'd worked so hard to earn.
But Khawaja, who's spoken previously about how a more relaxed approach to the game off the field has resulted in more success on it, is ready to move on from the difficult tour.
"It was tough to not play that last Test match, it's never easy being dropped regardless of the circumstances," Khawaja said in Sydney ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Basil Sellers Scholarship Program.
"It didn’t seem like it was the end of the world. I can understand where (the selectors) were coming from, even though it was disappointing and I didn’t fully agree with it.
"At the end of the day it’s out of your hands. You’ve just got to roll with the punches and hopefully when you get another chance you score runs."
Australia rebounded from the Test whitewash to claim the ODI and T20 series, although Khawaja contributed 48 runs across four matches.
He was then left out of Australia's one-day squad to tour South Africa later this month and has now set his sights on domestic duties for Queensland.
Starting in October, the Bulls play at least six matches in the Matador One-Day Cup and then one Sheffield Shield game against NSW before the opening Test of the summer against South Africa begins on November 3.
Despite no longer being a Test incumbent, which would have been an unthinkable scenario just two months ago given his incredible performances last summer, Khawaja has faith that he will respond to the Sri Lankan tour.
"I don't feel like I've lost touch or I'm out of it," hesaid.
"It's about going back to Matador Cup doing well for Queensland. Hopefully we can win a trophy and then I can be there for that first Test in Perth (in November)."
Khawaja, who averages more than 44 from 17 Tests, has been in and out of Australia's side since making his debut in the 2010-11 Ashes series.
Having seemingly bedded down his spot with four centuries from six Tests last season, he was one of multiple batsmen undone by the spinning conditions in Sri Lanka.
But the left-hander says it would be folly for the Australians to focus too much on their return to the subcontinent next year for a four-Test series against India.
"We learned a lot from it, the more we play in those conditions, the better we'll get," he said of the Sri Lankan experience.
"It's not natural for us Australians but as long as we're improving and not making the same mistake that's all we can ask.
"There's no point looking at India if I don't score any runs this summer.
"We need to win at home first and we're playing against two quality attacks (South Africa and Pakistan)."