Southampton, July 22 : Australia captain Tim Paine is confident that left-handed batsman Usman Khawaja will be fit and available for the first Ashes Test against England beginning August 1 at Edgbaston.
Khawaja had picked up a hamstring injury during Australia’s clash against South Africa in the recently concluded World Cup and was subsequently ruled out of the tournament. He will also not be available for the warm-up Test slated to begin Tuesday.
“I don’t think he’s in serious doubt (of missing the first Ashes Test),” cricket.com.au quoted Paine as saying in Southampton.
“He’s in a rehab stage so the decision has been made that he won’t play at this stage.”
“There is a possibility, maybe, if something were to happen to someone else he might be right for the back end of the game.
“But we expect him to be fully fit and available for selection for the first Test,” he added.
The 32-year-old has been batting at the no.3 spot since the last Ashes series in England four years ago, posting eight centuries and an average of 47.76 in that period.
Cricket Australia selectors are set to name the Ashes squad at the end of the four-day game between Hick XII, led by Paine and Haddin XII captained by Travis Head.