Usman Khawaja says he’s buoyed by the opportunity to join Australia’s one-day squad, with expectant dad Dave Warner stepping down for the remainder of the five-game series against India.
“I’m just really happy to be selected,” Khawaja said on Wednesday in Sydney.
“I’m not sure if I’ll play yet or not but it’s always nice to be picked and selected, to be rewarded in that way, so I’m excited to be a part of it.”
The 29-year-old has been called up to cover for Warner whose wife Candice is due to give birth to their second child.
“It’s a great reason (for the selection), so fingers crossed everything goes well for him and Candice and, hopefully, I’ll get to see the little girls sometime,” Khawaja said.
“I’m sure he’ll be back sooner rather than later, so I’ll keep a spot warm for him while he’s away.”
Khawaja’s most-recent innings of 62 from 42 balls for the Sydney Thunder in their loss to the Melbourne Renegades followed scores of 144 and 56 against the West Indies in the Boxing Day Test.
He also hit 174 and 121 in the Test series against New Zealand.
Even so, the left-handed opener will face fierce competition from Shaun Marsh for Warner’s spot.
While in particularly good touch for the Thunder in the Big Bash League, Khawaja believes it’s been his Matador Cup performances that have contributed most to his call-up.
“I think my Matador Cup form probably over the last two or three years helped me get this more so than what I’ve done in the T20 stuff in the last couple of games.
“I’ve been really happy with my white-ball cricket form over the last few years. We even got a Matador Cup victory a few years ago and I feel very comfortable in the format. I’m just happy to be amongst the boys.”