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Usman Khawaja could find a spot in the Playing XI against Bangladesh

Smith feels his side has learnt a lot from the tour of India earlier this year and also warned his boys to not take the hosts lightly.

Usman Khawaja of Australia
Usman Khawaja of Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

The upcoming Bangladesh Test series certainly is a big challenge and an opportunity for the Steve Smith led Australian side to improve its record in the Asian subcontinent. Most of the players in the current Aussie line-up find it hard to tackle the spinning sub-continent pitches. In the last 2 Test series’ in Asia, the Australian team was whitewashed 3-0 in Sri Lanka and then were defeated 2-1 by hosts India. Surprisingly, this is their first tour to Bangladesh since 2006, when they won the Test series 2-0.

Aussie skipper Smith is still confident and feels that his team will put a good show against the Tigers. He also backed left-hand batsman Usman Khawaja to play a major role for them. Khawaja, who has not played an international game since January 22 this year, has had his share of struggles in the sub-continental conditions. He had a tough time facing the Lankan spinners especially off-spinner Dilruwan Perera, during the Test series in Sri Lanka.

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Usman will be a big player

Khawaja was part of the Aussie side which toured India in March, earlier this year but couldn’t earn a spot in either of the four games. His technique and shot selection against the spinners is still under the scanner and needs improvement. However, Smith hinted at Khawaja’s selection in the playing XI against Bangladesh based on his form in the last couple of years.

“He’s done incredibly well in Australia over the last couple of years and it would be good for him to (play) some cricket… he’s chomping at the bit to get out there and I daresay he’ll get his opportunity,” said Smith.

The left-hander has an impressive record in his short Test career as in 23 matches, he has scored 1726 runs at an average of 47.94 with 5 hundreds. His last game in the longer format was against the visiting Pakistan side in January 2017. “I think Usman’s going to be a really big player for us this Ashes summer,” the skipper added.

Bangladesh is a strong side at home

Presently, the Bangladesh team cannot be considered pushovers in any of the three formats of the game. They have shown their abilities and proved themselves at regularly. The Tigers have produced a number of incredible performances in the recent times, majorly their win over England in the 2nd Test by 108 runs, to draw the Test series 1-1. However, Smith feels his side has learnt a lot from the tour of India earlier this year and also warned his boys to not take the hosts lightly.

“They’re [Bangladesh] a very good side in their own conditions and they’re going to be very challenging,” Smith said. “It will be great for us to get some game time there and play in those conditions, and see what we’ve learnt from India. Hopefully the guys have learnt a lot, and we’re able to take that into this tour and have a really successful one,” added the Aussie skipper.

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