Close Ashes selection call looms for ‘good mates’ Khawaja and Head

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 in Brisbane on December 8.

The state captains squared off in a Sheffield Shield match in Adelaide this week in their last first-class audition before the Ashes.

Queensland’s Khawaja scored four and South Australian skipper Head eight in their first innings.

Head then scored 101 in his second-innings before Khawaja slammed a 52 not out from just 36 balls to secure the Bulls an eight-wicket win.

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,” Khawaja said.

“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 34-year-old Khawaja, 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, [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 practise to not be that way.”


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