Usman Khawaja of QLD smiles at warm up during day 1 of the Round 5 JLT Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Victoria at The Gabba in Brisbane, Tuesday, November 27, 2018. (AAP Image/Jono Searle) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM AAP
Usman Khawaja of QLD smiles at warm up during day 1 of the Round 5 JLT Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Victoria at The Gabba in Brisbane, Tuesday, November 27, 2018. (AAP Image/Jono Searle) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM AAP

Hayden doesn’t want Uzzy to open

Matthew Hayden has called on Australia to finally recognise Usman Khawaja for what he is - their best player.

As debate rages in the selection room over the composition of the top order for next week's first Test against India, Hayden has declared Khawaja should be instilled as Australia's long-term No.3.

Coach Justin Langer is seriously flirting with the idea of sticking with Aaron Finch and Khawaja as his opening pairing for the summer because he feels the two shared a chemistry when they walked out together against Pakistan in the UAE last month - not dissimilar to the special bond he once built with Hayden.

 

 

Usman Khawaja is Australia’s best available batsman according to Matt Hayden. Picture: Getty Images
Usman Khawaja is Australia’s best available batsman according to Matt Hayden. Picture: Getty Images

 

However, in Hayden's opinion, you bat your best player at first drop and with Steve Smith and David Warner suspended - that No. 1 pick is Khawaja.

Few understood relationship building like the original bromance buddies, but Hayden hopes Khawaja is cast in the Ricky Ponting 'third wheel' role instead.

"I like Usman at three. Traditionally I think your best player bats at three and I think Usman Khawaja is that player," said Hayden.

 

Usman Khawaja plays a shot during day the Round 5 JLT Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Victoria at The Gabba. Picture: AAP Image
Usman Khawaja plays a shot during day the Round 5 JLT Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and Victoria at The Gabba. Picture: AAP Image

 

"I think he needs to feel settled. He's had a career that's been chopped and changed and for mine, I'd have him in every side. I just think he's that good.

"Why he's not playing in our one-day side and even our T20 side, I'm not sure. But he's our best batter and I still like him at three.

"Who am I to say what JL (Langer) on ground level could see. He's a great, astute judge of character and personality. That's good that happened (Finch and Khawaja bonded).

"But long term I think I'd like to see a different combination at the top for Australia. I'm not saying who that combination is but I think long term there has to be some different options."

Ponting strongly hinted at a Bradman Foundation dinner on Wednesday night at the SCG that he believes Victorian Harris will debut and open alongside Finch.

The batting great's advice for Harris and Finch was simple - and Ponting believes if they execute, Australia will beat India.

"If you think the Test match game is hard, it'll be hard. If you trust in what you've done and what you know about yourself, then the game, it'll seem a lot easier," said Ponting.

"If Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch go out and open the batting first day in Adelaide against India, if they think about getting out they'll get out. If they think about scoring runs, they'll definitely score runs.

"Marcus Harris is in the best form of his career. Just think about that. Think about the good things he's done in the lead-up. Don't let a negative result into your mind.

"If the openers play well Australia will win the Test series."

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