Usman Khawaja during a Queensland Bulls training session at the Gabba.
Usman Khawaja during a Queensland Bulls training session at the Gabba. DAVE HUNT

Khawaja still in frame for first Test despite outburst

CRICKET: Usman Khawaja's outburst about his non-selection for the final Test in Sri Lanka will not count against him, Australian coach Darren Lehmann says.

Khawaja called selectors "fickle” and said he had been made a "scapegoat” in an article last week.

But rather than hitting back at the Queensland captain, Lehmann made a joke of it at a press conference in Brisbane ahead of the first Sheffield Shield match of the season.

"We have the GOAT,” Lehmann said, referring to off-spinner Nathan Lyon's Greatest Of All Time nickname. "And now we have the Scapegoat. I love these nicknames.”

Lehmann, who on Friday will name his side for next week's first Test against South Africa in Perth, said he would have a private chat with Khawaja but the batsman was still in the frame to make the side.

"He is not on the back foot,” he said.

"(But) I will chat to him privately. "We would rather have these things played out between selectors and players.”

Khawaja and Queensland teammate Joe Burns were both dropped for the third Test on the ill-fated Sri Lanka tour in August.

Asked if he thought leaving out Khawaja was the correct decision, Lehmann said: "Being on the selection panel for the Test match, it was warranted.

"At the end of the day, there were different conditions and those two guys weren't playing well enough - they averaged eight or seven in two Test matches.

"We had to change something, but that doesn't affect the summer at home.

"We have to work out what we think the best batting line-up is for the summer.”

Meanwhile, Glenn Maxwell's chances of forcing his way back into selectors' thoughts for a Test recall were hit after he was made 12th man for Victoria's Shield clash with Tasmania.



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