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Michael Clarke questions Cricket Australia for not giving Usman Khawaja national contract

Announcing the names of the players with the contract, the chief selector had himself admitted that the exclusion of Usman Khawaja was a major decision.

SNS | New Delhi |

After Cricket Australia on Thursday announced the names of 20 nationally contracted cricketers, former captain Michael Clarke questioned the governing body for not giving Usman Khawaja a contract for this year.

“I find it very hard to believe that someone with the talent and the runs behind him over 10 years isn’t in Australia’s top 20 players,” Clarke said of Khawaja on Big Sports Breakfast as quoted by IANS.

Announcing the names of the players with the contract, chief selector Trevor Hohns himself had admitted that Khawaja’s exclusion was a major decision but he kept his faith on the batsman to take it as a challenge and bounce back stronger.

“It was the hardest decision (but) he just fell out of the bottom of the list. We know Usman is a fabulous players, I don’t have any doubts that he’ll accept the challenge to get back into the Australian side,” Hohns was quoted as saying on Cricket Australia’s digital platform cricket.com.au.

About the squad, the chief selector had said, “With many of the squad crossing into all three formats it gives us the benefit of being able to add in specialists depending on the opposition and the conditions. The depth of this squad and the success of the past 12 months gives us that solid base.”

Meanwhile, other than Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Marcus Harris were the other major names that went missing from the contracted players’ list.

On the other hand, Marnus Labuschagne Joe Burns, Ashton Agar, Kane Richardson and Matthew Wade are the new faces that have been added.

Australia contracted players: Ashton Agar, Joe Burns, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.