Dropped Test batsmen Joe Burns (left) and Usman Khawaja will be looking for runs for Queensland against NSW at the Gabba.
Dropped Test batsmen Joe Burns (left) and Usman Khawaja will be looking for runs for Queensland against NSW at the Gabba. DAVE HUNT

Last chance for Khawaja, Burns to shine

CRICKET: Queensland's opening Sheffield Shield match against NSW at the Gabba starting today will be the last chance for dumped Bulls batsmen Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns to win back their spots for the First Test against South Africa.

The Queensland pair were omitted for Australia's final Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo in August, with Khawaja saying he and Burns were "scapegoats” for the disappointing results of the touring batsmen.

Khawaja told Fairfax he thought the selectors were fickle.

"I wasn't the only person who wasn't scoring runs,” he said. "There was only one other person who scored a 50 in the first two Test matches at that time and that was Steve Smith.

"I only had two bad Test matches on tough wickets [in Sri Lanka].

"I found it pretty fickle that the selectors dropped me for the third one.”

Smith said yesterday it was the selectors' job to make the tough calls.

"They saw fit that he wasn't going to be part of that third Test,” Smith said.

"Usman's entitled to his opinions but the selectors have a job to do.

"He's come off a great summer here last year and he's a quality player so I'm sure he'll be amongst the runs soon.

The Gabba match features the return of Mitchell Starc from his leg injury.

Meanwhile NSW batsman Nic Maddinson joins teammate Daniel Hughes to be ruled out of the match with concussion.

Both were hit on the helmet during the Blues' successful Matador Cup campaign.



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