Ricky Ponting backs Usman Khawaja to excel against Pakistan

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting backed Queensland batsman Usman Khawaja to come good, in Asian conditions, in the upcoming two-Test series against Pakistan in UAE. 

Ricky Ponting backs Usman Khawaja to excel against Pakistan
Image Courtesy: Reuters

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting backed Queensland batsman Usman Khawaja to come good, in Asian conditions, in the upcoming two-Test series against Pakistan in UAE. 

Ponting stated that Khawaja was 'Australia's best batsman by a street' and suggested more game time for the southpaw to help him get better in the subcontinent conditions.

"There's been lots of different discussions over the last couple of years about Khawaja and how to get the get the best out of him. Is he an Australian Test match player only? Do we just not pick him on the subcontinent? I just think you`ve got to keep picking him - with Warner and those guys out, he's clearly our best batsman by a street," Cricket Australia quoted Ponting, as saying.

Ponting's remark comes after Khawaja's selection, despite his dismal form in the continent, came under scrutiny. Khawaja has scored 117 runs in five Tests with a highest score of 26 runs. 

"The more he can play in those conditions, the more he`ll start to work it out. He is a class player, no doubt about that. The more secure he can probably feel in his own mind, we`ll see him get better and better," Ponting added. 

Usman Khawaja was part of the 15-man squad for the Pakistan series, which is scheduled to be held from October 7 to October 20. 

On Australia's possible spin combination ahead of the opening Test, Ponting believed left-arm spinner Jon Holland would best assist off-spinner Nathan Lyon in the match. 

"It's a no-brainer to me - Jon Holland without thinking twice. He has been Australia's second best spinner for some time - whenever he plays for Victoria, he takes wicket after wicket. He`s a quality bowler," he said.

Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matt Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc.

(With ANI inputs)

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