Greg Blewett has called for Australian selectors to promote SCG century-maker Usman Khawaja to the top of the order at Marcus Harris’ expense for the fifth Ashes Test in Hobart next week.
The former Australian opener was concerned with Harris’ lack of big scores across his stop-start 14-Test career, with zero tons, three half-centuries and a mediocre average of 26.
The Victorian and ex-WA left-hander’s best performance of the series was in the Boxing Day Test, top-scoring with 76 in difficult conditions to help his side re-claim the Ashes and take a 3-0 lead.
But he has struggled to capitalise on his starts other than that, dismissed for 38 and 27 respectively this match.
“Well, the problem Marcus Harris has now got is that he’s played 14 Test matches and zero hundreds as a Test match opener,” Blewett told Channel 7.
“They’ve really tried to back him in… (Australian chairman of selectors) George Bailey guaranteed his spot weeks out from the Test match series actually starting.
“So they’ve really tried to give him every opportunity to perform. So he’s now played 14 Test matches and averages 26.
“I mean, the fact that Australia are winning helps, but I think if you’re going to be absolutely ruthless then you’ve got to keep trying to improve your side, which everyone should be.
“How many games is a decent enough bank of evidence? Keep coming back to 14 Test matches. And then some people say it wasn’t 14 Test matches in a row, but he’s now has four in a row.
“It was a gutsy innings, 76 in Melbourne on a difficult surface. But his career first class record is 39, so that’s not brilliant.”
Blewett said with Queensland captain Khawaja opening the batting with David Warner was “the way they’ve got to go”.
Khawaja came in and peeled off a brilliant 137, the ninth century of his Test career, after replacing Travis Head who was out with COVID, and has a great record up top.
“You know, Usman Khawaja coming off a magnificent hundred, he’s opened the batting before, I think that’s the way they’ve got to go,” Blewett added.
“Usman Khawaja in Test Match cricket is averaging over 40. And that’s the other thing – three 50s from 14 Test matches. So it’s not just the hundred, it’s the fact that he’s (Harris) been able to get 20s, 30s, and not anything more than that.”