Real cricbuzz prediction: Kawaja: Australian stability will help them in India

Usman Khawaja believes the stability in Australia’s Test squad puts them in a strong position to challenge India next month as they look to win a series in the country for the first time since 2004.

Australia will announce their squad on Wednesday and the fact only a handful of positions are really up for debate, especially in the batting, reinforces Khawaja’s view.

Since the final Test of last year’s Ashes, when Khawaja was promoted to open in place of Marcus Harris after his stunning twin hundreds on his comeback against England, Australia have only made one change to their top seven in 11 Tests and that was an enforced one due to Cameron Green’s broken finger which led to a recall for Matt Renshaw in Sydney.

The bowling has seen a little more switching around with Mitchell Swepson playing in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, a few injuries and absences among quick bowlers and latterly Ashton Agar’s call-up at the SCG.

Khawaja is also part of a senior trio of batters alongside Steven Smith and David Warner who have extensive experience in the subcontinent, albeit Warner’s relatively lean record in India could yet be a problem for Australia. “We’ve played a lot of games on the subcontinent,” Kawaja said at the Sydney premiere of the second season of the documentary film The Test. I’ve played it many times and I’ve learned a lot from that experience.

“I think the stability of this team is also great. Every time I go to the subcontinent, it feels like there is a lot of chopping and changing. I think it puts us in a good position.

This tour turned out to be a formidable force at home, but it’s also important for Travis his head as he struggled on 91 carries in seven innings on his two overseas tours last year. However, Khawaja believes the environment within the current roster, where players are supported in performance over the long term, gives them the best chance of success.

“I’ve been asking for this for a long time,” he said. “Test cricket is hard enough. It gets even harder when you feel you only have three games to prove yourself. I felt like Andrew Macdonald and Pat are really good at it.”

However, some selection decisions may be dictated by conditions, and Australia can strike a different balance throughout, with an emphasis on how quickly greens become available. Smith, who has taken part in two test tours of India and scored three centuries with an average of 60.00, knows that you can’t have a solid plan until you get there.

Possible Australia squad for India tour David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (capt), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Scott Boland, Ashton Agar, Lance Morris, Mitchell Swepson, Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb, Todd Murphy

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