After twin tons, Khawaja could replace Harris as opener in Hobart
Cummins is not on the selection panel – which consists of George Bailey, Justin Langer and Tony Dodemaide – but called Khawaja someone who is in “total command of their game”.
“I’ll preface it by saying I’m not a selector, but when someone comes out and hits twin hundreds, it’s pretty hard to go past them for the week after,” Cummins said. “So we’ll work through that, the selectors will work through that the next few days. But when someone’s running hot, has got a heap of experience like Uzzy, the way he plays is fantastic.”
Khawaja has only opened in first-class cricket on three occasions in the last three years and in total in 24 of his 166 matches but does have two centuries in the role in Test cricket. His versatility was one of the key reasons behind him being the spare batter in the Ashes squad and he would have replaced David Warner in Adelaide if his damaged ribs had prevented him playing.
“Felt like he could replace any batter from one to six,” Cummins said. “I know there’s been question marks historically on him playing over in Asia but you see how well he’s played spin recently – reverse sweeping, sweeping – he’s just someone who’s in total command of his game. That’s why you love experience.”
It was the second year in a row they had not been able to take victory from a strong position at the SCG but Cummins believed he had got his calculations correct. Seven overs were lost to rain on the final day and Australia had 64 balls to claim the last two wickets after Jonny Bairstow fell.
“I wanted about three-and-a-half an over, though the wicket still wasn’t playing too many tricks,” he said. “I thought if they batted well 350 is pretty achievable. Thought 110 overs was enough time… but in the back of our mind we knew it could be a bit of a grind.
“I think this year compared to last year we have made some improvements, we probably stuck at some plans a little bit longer. When you are that far ahead of the game of course you want to win it but I thought England played well. I was really proud of how everyone went, got close just not close enough.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo