Cricket: No bad blood after Usman Khawaja slams national selectors for omission

Usman Khawaja slammed the Australian selectors as "fickle" and claimed he'd been made a "scapegoat". Photo / Photosport
Usman Khawaja slammed the Australian selectors as "fickle" and claimed he'd been made a "scapegoat". Photo / Photosport

There are no hard feelings after Usman Khawaja slammed national selectors as "fickle" and claimed he'd been made a "scapegoat", Darren Lehmann says.

In fact, the Australia coach - only three days before the Test squad is announced for the first match against South Africa in Perth - reckons he can see the funny side of Khawaja's criticism.

"We have the GOAT," Lehmann said, referring to off-spinner Nathan Lyon's Greatest Of All Time nickname.

"And now we have the Scapegoat. I love these nicknames."

Lehmann said he would talk privately with Khawaja about his comments but claimed the batsman was not on the outer with selectors.

"He is not on the back foot," Lehmann said in Brisbane on Tuesday.

"(But) I will chat to him privately.

"We would rather have these things played out between selectors and players."

Khawaja took aim at selectors after he and Joe Burns were dropped from the Test team during the ill-fated 3-0 series loss in Sri Lanka.

Asked if Khawja's demotion for the third Test in Colombo was warranted, Lehmann said: "Being on the selection panel for the Test match, it was warranted.

"At the end of the day, there were different conditions and those two guys weren't playing well enough - they averaged eight or seven in two Test matches.

"We had to change something, but that doesn't affect the summer at home.

"We have to work out what we think the best batting line-up is for the summer."

Khawaja and Burns are hoping to impress in Queensland's day-night Sheffield Shield clash with NSW at the Gabba starting on Tuesday.

Khawaja and Burns will vie with Western Australia's Shaun Marsh for the chance to partner opener David Warner, while the trio are also in the mix to bat at No.3.

The other contentious topic ahead of the first Test is the choice of third seamer.

Victoria's Peter Siddle and Tasmania's Jackson Bird appear to be vying for the Test spot in their day-night Shield clash at the MCG also starting on Tuesday.

Marsh - back from a hamstring injury - has been named to play for WA in their Shield game in Perth against South Australia.

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