New Delhi: Hosts Australia will hope David Warner's replacement Usman Khawaja, will carry forward his form in Tests into ODIs in the crucial opening slot.
Khawaja has been selected as Warner's replacement for the next two one-day internationals of the ongoing five-match series against India after the hard-hitting batsman was granted paternity leave.
Khawaja has been in supreme form which was evident during the Test series against the West Indies in which the hosts triumphed 2-0.
The West Indies series saw Khawaja's return after a hamstring injury he had earlier suffered against New Zealand. Khawaja played some big innings against the Kiwis and his return to the Aussie side for the Boxing Day Test last month was no surprise despite him replacing Shaun Marsh who had struck a match-winning ton in the same series.
The drafting of Khawaja shows Australia's faith in the 29-year-old as they eye consistency. Khawaja can use this chance to show why he can be a vital asset for the Aussies in ODIs too.
Khawaja's return against the Windies saw him score a ton and a half century. He followed it up with a fluent 62-run-knock in the Big Bash League playing for Sydney Thunder.
Australia have already taken a 1-0 lead in the 5-match ODI series and this will serve as a perfect platform to launch Khawaja whose form and consistency will be difficult for the inexperienced visiting bowlers.
Alongside Aaron Finch, Khawaja could find a suitable opportunity to strike big in the next two ODIs and a good outing will put Australia in a healthy selection headache before David Warner returns.