AUCKLAND: Batsman Usman Khawaja has been omitted from Australia’s lineup for the first of three one-day games against New Zealand at Eden Park on Wednesday.
Khawaja, who has been in outstanding form in Australia’s domestic competition, was called into the touring squad as a replacement for opening batsman Aaron Finch who injured a hamstring during the recent Twenty20 series against India.
Captain Steve Smith announced on Tuesday that Shaun Marsh had been picked to open the batting with David Warner in the opening match of the Chappell-Hadlee series despite Khawaja scoring two centuries during Australia’s Twenty20 Big Bash League.
“He’s unlucky to miss out but Shaun’s going to get the first opportunity,” Smith said. “No doubt he’d be frustrated.
“He’s hitting the ball extremely well. But the one-day side is a tough side to break into. We’re the current world champions. We’ve been playing some very good one-day cricket and the batters have been scoring lots of runs. We scored 300 on every occasion in the recent one-day series (against India) at home.”
Josh Hazlewood will lead the Australia pace bowling attack with Kane Richardson, John Hastings and James Faulkner. Legspinner Adam Zampa and fast bowler Scott Boland were the other members of the Australia squad to miss selection in Wednesday’s match XI.
“We’ve got quite an inexperienced bowling attack,” Smith said. “We’ve got quite a few guys that are out but the guys are learning quite quickly.
“We’ve traditionally done quite well using (Glenn) Maxwell as our spinner we suspect it will swing around a little bit and we’re going to make use of that,” he said.
New Zealand and Australia last met in a one-day international in the World Cup final in Melbourne in March. They also played at Eden Park in the pool stages of the World Cup when New Zealand won a thrilling match by one wicket.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum scored a 24-ball half century in that match and Australia have marked him again as a danger man, though his most-recent innings ended in a first-ball duck against Pakistan at Eden Park on Sunday.
McCullum, who is battling a back injury, will retire from test cricket at the end of the test series against Australia.
“Brendon has been a terrific player and leader for a long time,” Smith said. “No doubt they’ll want to send him off in the best way possible. It’s up to us to make that not happen.”
New Zealand has yet to announce its match lineup but has called legspinner Ish Sodhi into its squad for Wednesday’s match.
Australia: Shaun Marsh, David Warner, Steve Smith (capt), George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Mitch Marsh, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, John Hastings, Kane Richardson, Josh Hazlewood.
New Zealand (from): Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Corey Anderson, Grant Elliott, Mitchell Santner, Luke Ronchi, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Adam Milne, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult.