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Usman Khawaja

Usman Khawaja 'our best batsman by a street' – Ricky Ponting

Australia news

Ricky Ponting wants Usman Khawaja to get regular chances to play Test cricket in the subcontinent to do justice to his ability.

"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," Ponting told "(People wonder), 'is he an Australian Test match player only? Do we just not pick him on the subcontinent?'"

Khawaja, who was recently named in the squad for two-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in October, averages 42 in Tests, but has only scored 117 runs at 14.62 in nine Test innings in the subcontinent, in four Tests in Sri Lanka and one in Bangladesh.

But in the absence of the suspended trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, Ponting feels Khawaja is Australia's "best batsman by a street" and deserves as many opportunities as he can get.

"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," Ponting said. "The more he can play in those conditions, the more he'll start to work it out.

'The more secure he can probably feel in his own mind, we'll see him get better and better' – Ricky Ponting
'The more secure he can probably feel in his own mind, we'll see him get better and better' – Ricky Ponting

"Someone like Uzzie, he's been in and out, he's played the start of a series over there and got dropped but then been picked as soon as he's got back to Australia."

Ponting used his own example from two-and-a-half decades ago, saying: "It's difficult. I was a bit the same; the first few tours I had to India, I struggled. But the more I played, the more I learned about how I was going to survive and how I was going to cope. The last couple of tours I had there were some of the best I ever had."

Khwaja registered scores of 127 and 40 in the first four-day game for Australia A in the recent series against India A, but wasn't played in the second game as the visitors handed chances around the touring party.

Ponting isn't sure that was the right call. "I just think he's had a lot of uncertainty about where he's at. I was even a bit surprised that they didn't play him in this last game in India (during the Australia A series). He was over there in India, he'd done well and then they don't play him," the former captain said.

"He's 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."

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