Tim Paine, the Australian captain, believes that first-class batsman Usman Khawaja will be fully fit before the first ash test, which begins in Birmingham on 1 August.
Khawaja had to pause at the World Cup after exposing himself to a thigh strain in the final Round Robin game on July 6 in Australia’s 10-run against South Africa. However, the left hitter, who won 171 times in the final Ashes test between the two teams in Sydney in January 2018, has convinced his skipper of his fitness.
“He’s 100 percent, he ran a little between the gates, not with full intensity,” Paine said. “But Usman has played a lot of cricket, he’s been here for months, it was not ideal that he did not play in this game, but I think he’ll be fit and ready next week.”
The 32-year-old was seen doing fitness work with supervisors after the early completion of a four-day practice game between Hick XII and Haddin XII. Then he did a few stroke exercises next to Paine.
Mitchell Starc also had a fear of injury after being scanned for a sore knee on Matchday 2. However, on Thursday he returned to the pitch to dispel the fears. In the final stages of the game, he dropped eight consecutive overs and dismissed Mitchell Marsh.
With Pat Cummins in the mix and James Pattinson impressing with a 3/19 in the second innings, Paine faces serious selection challenges in the bowling unit.
“Pattinson was outstanding again, he was for the entire Australia A tour,” said Paine. “But he has set a pace in this game, especially in this second innings, and he’s starting to get very excited about what might be ahead of him next week.”
The Wicket Keeper also praised the experienced duo of Josh Hazlewood and Starc, who lost 43 wickets in 2017/18 in the 4-1 triumph of Ashes in Australia. “Both have done really well today,” said Paine. “Every time Josh bowling in a match, he’s gotten better and better … he’s becoming an important bowler for us during this ashes.
“Starcy is leaving a lot of cricket with white balls. [It] needs a little time to adjust, but next week he will work hard, and if he’s on song, he’ll play a big role in that ashes.” , “
The Australian selection committee chaired by Trevor Hohns is expected to name a squad of 16 or 17 players for the five-game series on Friday.
While veteran duo Steve Smith and David Warner have been contesting their first test since March 2018, Cameron Bancroft has also raced with 93 * in the fourth innings of the practice game.