Marsh Sheffield Shield 2021-22
Khawaja at peace with Ashes rival Head
Queensland cruised to an eight-wicket win over SA in what was billed as a showdown between the two Test No. 5 aspirants, with Khawaja impressing as he guided the Bulls home
26 November 2021, 03:43 PM AEST
Usman Khawaja says he'll have no issues if he's overlooked for his mate Travis Head for the first Ashes Test.
Khawaja and Head are bidding for the vacant No.5 batting berth in Australia's team for the first Test against England starting on December 8.
The state captains squared off in a Marsh Sheffield Shield match in Adelaide in their last first-class audition before the Ashes, which Queensland won convincingly by eight wickets on Friday.
Khawaja scored four and South Australian skipper Head eight in the first-innings, before the SA captain hit a superb 101 in the second-innings after his side was asked to follow-on.
Queensland skipper Khawaja slammed a 52 not out from just 36 balls as the Bulls cruised to victory on Friday morning.
Khawaja shunned the billing of the Shield fixture as a shootout between the members of Australia's 15-man squad for the first Ashes Test.
"I'm going to be 100 per cent honest with you, it's not even on my mind right now," the 34-year-old said after play.
"I'm honestly just trying to win games for Queensland and whatever will be, will be.
"Heady deserves it as much as I do.
"I'm really good mates with him. I have got no issues with whatever happens."
Khawaja and Head have both scored two Shield tons this season, with the Bulls leader also posting two half-centuries and Head scoring one.
The left-handed Queenslander, whose last Test was in August 2019, said his mind was at ease when, in the past he would have been anxious about possible Test selection.
"I wasn't always mellow," he said.
"This is experience ... I have just come to realise after a long time of a lot of work with myself and my mind and just learning about myself, it (being anxious) just doesn't help.
"The best time I play is when I am relaxed.
"And to be honest I have got a lot of things in life that I am very grateful for and those are the things now that I focus on.
"Because I know within the cricket bubble how much it can get you and that is how I used to be - it has taken years and years of practice to not be that way."
Chasing 88 to win, the Bulls reached their target about 75 minutes before lunch on Friday's final day of play at Karen Rolton Oval.
Khawaja cracked 10 fours in a 36-ball cameo, while Test star Marnus Labuschagne was unbeaten on 28.
Labuschagne top-scored with 110 in the Bulls' first-innings of 299 before SA crashed to 102 all out in reply, with Khawaja enforcing the follow-on.
That decision gifted Redbacks skipper Head another chance to press his claims for Australia's No.5 batting berth and he cashed in, with his 101 the only Redbacks score above 50 as they were bowled out for 284.
But Head's team again tasted defeat – SA haven't won a Shield game since February last year and have finished last in the past three editions of the four-day competition.
Queensland, the reigning Shield champions, now have two wins from five games this season – the same number of victories as Western Australia (five games), Tasmania (five games) and Victoria (three games).
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
Nov 30 – Dec 3: England v England Lions, Brisbane
Dec 1-3: Australian intra-squad match, Brisbane
Dec 9-12: Australia A v England Lions, Brisbane
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium