“I would think Usman would play the first Test match,” Lehmann was quoted as saying on Thursday (September 7) by cricket.com.au. “For the make-up of the side we changed it here, but we think he’s a pretty special player and obviously he’s got a really good record in Australia.” Khawaja’s record in the subcontinent is a cause of worry, having managed only 117 runs in five Tests in Asia, averaging just 14.62. But his record in Australia is hard to overlook; at home, the left-hander averages 77.50 having played 10 Tests, with four centuries.
“We look at all scenarios. We look at the best XI that’s going to perform for the game. So for us, it was the right call. Matthew was great this game. End of the day, we love having the best keeper all the time,” said Lehmann.
What will help Australia decide upon their final XI ahead of the first Test in Brisbane will be the three Sheffield Shield rounds. Maxwell’s century in Ranchi earlier this year, all but sees him retain the No. 6 spot, but he may lose out to the preference for a seam-bowling all-rounder, as seen in recent years. While the coach suggested that Maxwell will most likely retain that No. 6 spot, strong performances in the Shield competition could see others being brought into the mix.
Darren Lehmann, the Australia head coach, backed Usman Khawaja to regain his spot in the side for the first Test against England in the Ashes 2017-18.