Three-time World Cup winner Ricky Ponting believes that Usman Khawaja will be able to consolidate his spot in the World Cup which begins from May 30 in England & Wales.
The 44-year old who had led Australia to back-to-back World Cup triumphs in 2003 and 2007 feels that Khawaja has proved his mettle in the recently concluded ODI series against India. The spirited Aussies came from behind to win the series 3-2 after a 0-2 deficit. By the virtue of this win, Australia won their first ever ODI series after two years and also registered their first ODI series win in India in 10 years. Khawaja was adjudged Man of the Series for scoring 383 runs in the five-match series which included two centuries and two half-centuries at an average of 76.60.
The tour of India was a huge turning point in Khawaja's ODI career. He narrowly missed out on scoring three consecutive centuries in three matches. Prior to this series, it seemed highly unlikely that his name will even be in the selectors' list while announcing the World Cup squad. There was no room for him in the ODI squad despite Steve Smith and David Warner's absence. To make matters worse, he did not even have an ODI hundred either. However, before the return of Smith and Warner, Khawaja has not only made a strong statement but has also put the selectors on notice after a string of exceptional performances.
Ponting who will be joining the Australian team as their assistant coach after the conclusion of IPL has said that he will be surprised if Khawaja is not in the World Cup squad. He also added that Khawaja could bat at number three once Warner is back and that Smith might bat at four or five to shore up the middle overs.
Khawaja will get one more opportunity to cement his position in the World Cup when Australia will lock horns with Pakistan in a five-match ODI series in UAE starting from March 22.