HomeNews‘Paid their dues’: Usman Khawaja defends David Warner after Mitchell Johnson attack

‘Paid their dues’: Usman Khawaja defends David Warner after Mitchell Johnson attack

Test cricket and came back into the team as hungry as ever and have copped a lot of flak from a lot of people.“They’ve genuinely been good people and I can genuinely say that. They’ve made a mistake and they’ve taken responsibility for it. They’ve copped their whack and they’re still here playing good cricket for Australia.“People can say what they want. It’s your own opinion but I’m allowed to have my opinion as well and my opinion is that they’ve done nothing wrong since they’ve come back.”Khawaja’s comments came as speculation grew that Labuschagne, who has batted at No.3 for Australia in the past two Tests, could be better suited to opening the innings when Warner retires after the third Test against England in Sydney.Khawaja, who has opened the batting in Warner’s absence, said Labuschagne should remain at No.3 and Australia should seek a specialist opener to fill the void left by Warner.“Marnus has done really well at No.3 so I don’t think there’s any need to change that,” Khawaja said.“I think Marnus is an incredible No.3 for us and I think he’s shown that over the last few years. He’s been really consistent at No.3, so I’d hate to move him. I think we need to find someone else.”Australia’s Sheffield Shield competition resumes this week, giving selectors a chance to run the rule over potential Test openers ahead of the two-Test series against Pakistan, which starts in Brisbane on November 25.Former Australian captain and prominent TV commentator Mark Taylor has suggested Labuschagne should be considered as a potential opener, along with Western Australia captain Shaun Marsh, who has opened in the past, and rising star Will Pucovski, who has returned from a mental health break.Uncapped Tasmania opener Jordan Silk also looms as an option after being one of the standout performers in the domestic one-day competition last month.Khawaja said he feels for Warner, who has scored just 97 runs in seven innings during the Ashes series in England, but believed his opening partner still had plenty to offer Test cricket.“I know Davey’s a good player,” Khawaja said.“Everyone goes through a tough period. It doesn’t matter how good you are, whether you’re (Sachin) Tendulkar or (Ricky) Ponting or Don Bradman or (Shane) Warne or (Glenn) McGrath, you always go through a tough period.“Davey’s had a really tough period but he’s a champion and that’s what champions do. They come out on top. I’ve got no doubts that he’s going to come out of it.”Khawaja expects Warner to retire after the Sydney Test to focus on the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia next year, but would not be surprised if his opening partner continued playing Test cricket.“I think T20 cricket is probably his favourite format now,” Khawaja said.“He’s got a young family, he’s got three kids now and I think he probably wants to spend a bit more time with them. But who knows. All I know is that he’s still one of the best players in the world.”

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