NSW batsman Usman Khawaja says he’s willing to step into an opening role for Australia if required.
While Phil Hughes appears to be the biggest beneficiary of Cricket Australia’s decision to dump veteran Simon Katich from their 25 contracted players, Khawaja said he’d be happy to fill any position that he’s asked to.
And if Ricky Ponting returns to the Test team in Khawaja’s favoured No.3 role the rookie Test batsman will have to slot in elsewhere to get a start.
“I love batting three. I think that’s where I’ve done most of my best work,” Khawaja told Sydney’s Sky Sports Radio.
“To be honest I’ve batted anywhere. It doesn’t matter where you play in an Australian team.
“I’ve done well in three but if there’s a spot there opening and I’m needed to open then I’ll open.
“Whatever opportunity I get I’ll back myself and make sure that I’m ready for that opportunity.”
Hughes had stepped in as an opener following Katich’s Achilles injury during last summer’s second Ashes Test and should remain in that role alongside Shane Watson for August’s tour of Sri Lanka.
But having scored just 97 runs during his three Tests last summer at a disappointing average of 16.16 Hughes will be under the gun to produce the goods for the national team almost immediately.
Khawaja refused to debate the merits of the call by national selectors to dump Katich, but said he felt for the NSW veteran.
“I’m really close to Kato but these things happen in cricket and they’re things you can’t really control, whether you get selected or not,” he said.
Katich’s manager Robert Joske said the 35-year-old was still weighing up his options but would announce his intentions shortly.
“There’s still a burning desire to achieve,” Joske told AAP.
“The fact that it’s been taken away from him now means that we have to reassess our priorities and reassess the options. Look at it from a clinical perspective about what our options are.
“We’ll move forward once we’ve got something to talk about. We are keeping all our options on the table.
“Needless to say, is there an option still to play cricket? That’ll be a discussion we have when we sit around the table talk about what the options are.”