Former Australian test great Michael Slater has led a chorus of criticism over the heavy loss to the Black Caps last night and warned that the position of chairman of selectors Rod Marsh has become increasingly tenuous.

Critics across the Tasman are focussing on the omission of Usman Khawaja, pointing out the world's most in-form batsman was reduced to a water boy while his team-mates capitulated out in the middle at Eden Park.

Shaun Marsh fell for a modest 5 to start the landslide of wickets, but it was another Marsh who is now under enormous pressure.

According to Slater, Rod Marsh should be under the spotlight.

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"It's a joke. It's a joke and the pressure that should be mounting on Rod Marsh," Slater said on The Big Sports Breakfast across the Tasman.

"There's no great planning when it comes to some selections and there is no great logic when they leave someone out like Khawaja. So Rod Marsh should be in the sights."

The critics said Australia did not pick their best XI for the first one-dayer despite that being the key mantra selectors always recite when questioned over the decisions they make.

If Khawaja can't get a game in Wellington on Saturday he might as well give up on ever playing one-day cricket again, said the Sydney Daily Telegraph this morning.

But the media outlet added that even if selectors do finally make the call they ought to have made weeks ago, the question is should it already be too late for Rod Marsh?

"The ridiculous situation has now escalated to the point where it threatens to derail Australia's bid to reclaim the No.1 Test ranking in New Zealand later this month - their primary goal," said the paper before adding, "Khawaja may not have been able to stop the rot that set in at Eden Park, but that's not the point.

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"There is no escaping the fact that he was robbed of being picked in a team where he should have been close to the first chosen and his preparation for the Test series to start on February 12 has now been utterly butchered as a result."

With rain forecast to impact Saturday's second ODI in Wellington, it's possible Khawaja will be left with just one 50-over hit-out leading into a Test where he is expected to hold the batting order together in the crucial position of No.3.

Instead of wearing a fluro orange vest and being forced to carry out water boy duties, Khawaja could have been in Adelaide taking part in the 300-plus run-feast Queensland's batsmen enjoyed on day one of their Sheffield Shield clash.

But more to the point he should have been wearing the pads and given a chance to steer Australia to victory in the first one-day international of a very important series.

Why? Because he is arguably the best batsman Australia has right now.

The rationale of abiding by a pecking order should not override the logic of picking a player who is in such rare form as Khawaja has been this summer, said the Telegraph.

"Imagine the outrage and the consequences that would have followed had Steve Smith never forced his way into the team ahead of the World Cup?"

"Quite simply, Australia went to battle at less than full strength and were badly exposed for it.

"This tour might have a long way to go, but if Australia and Khawaja were to come home empty handed at the end of a test series where a No.1 ranking was on the line - Rod Marsh's position could potentially go from tenuous to untenable."

- news.com.au