BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 24: Usman Khawaja of Australia looks dejected after being dismissed by Moeen Ali of England during day two of the First Test Match of the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at The Gabba on November 24, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Usman Khawaja has put himself right in the mix for a long-term spot in the Australian Test side with a Man of the Match performance in Sydney which saw him score back-to-back centuries.

Throughout the first three tests, Khawaja was in contention for selection but was overlooked since selectors wanted to keep the same young top six they have maintained throughout the last 12 months.

However, due to COVID-19 protocols which saw Travis Head get pulled from the lineup, Khawaja was given one last opportunity to prove himself at the top level.

In the past, such a performance would be enough to secure a spot in the side for at least a few more matches, however, the Australian top six has been settled for some time, which makes it difficult to break through permanently.

Going into Hobart - and the rest of the year - all eyes will be on Khawaja and whether or not he deserves a spot in Justin Langer's top six.

We believe there are four possible options for him and his career moving forward with regards to Test selection.

Option 1 - Khawaja gets dropped

Australian batsman Usman Khawaja walks after being dismissed during the third day of the third Test cricket match between Australia and South Africa at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide on November 26, 2016. / AFP / PETER PARKS / --IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE-- (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Whilst this option would be very harsh on the 35-year-old, it could be plausible seeming that Head, whom he replaced, will be able to return back into his number five spot for the Hobart Test.

Another positive of this is that it provides Marcus Harris, who is the younger of the two, with more opportunities. Given his age, Harris will be an option for the future and some more experience in a theoretically dead match would do more good than harm.

Option 2 - Khawaja permanently replaces Travis Head

Whilst Travis Head was one of the in-form batsmen of the series before being sidelined, having belted an 85-ball century and averaging 62 for the series, Khawaja's average of 238 for the series is more impressive.

Thus, based off statistics alone, the man they call 'Uzzie' would return to the number five spot where he hit back-to-back centuries.

Option 3 - Khawaja replaces Marcus Harris

If Khawaja were to replace Harris, Head would return to his number five spot and Khawaja would move right up the order to open the batting with David Warner.

This would ensure that Khawaja and Head - who have scored more runs than Harris in less games - make the side.

Khawaja already boasts a stunning average of 96.80 throughout his career as an opener for Australia.

Option 4 - Khawaja replaces Cameron Green

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Replacing Green with Khawaja would bolster Australia's batting to new heights, especially since Green has had a poor summer with the bat.

Even though Green's upside comes in the form of his bowling, the remaining quicks and Nathan Lyon would still likely be sufficient enough for the Aussies since they have taken 79 of a possible 80 wickets this summer, albeit it with Cameron Green picking up vital wickets throughout.


Option 4 is the least likely of the four since Green has been terrific with the ball throughout the series. He also is very young and more Test matches will translate to more experience and hopefully more success in the future for the ultra-talented all-rounder.

Option 1 is also quite unlikely since Khawaja has put himself in a seemingly "undroppable" position given his recent success. The only positive is that without him Australia could set up a side that is geared towards the future given the younger age bracket of the team in his absence.

Option 2 is possible but probably not too likely since Head was in blistering form at number five, where he averaged 62 and smashed amassed a stunning century at the Gabba. He also provides much-needed aggression for the Aussie top six.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 04: Usman Khawaja of Australia and Marcus Harris of Australia leave the field at the end of play during day two of the Fourth Test match in the series between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 04, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Therefore, option 3 - which comprises of Head regaining his number five spot and Khawaja taking Harris' opening position - is the most probable of all the four options. This would allow both Head and Khawaja, who have both been significantly better than Harris this series, to help get the Aussies to a 4-0 series win.

Whilst this would be disappointing for Harris, he simply has not performed well enough to deserve to open the batting with Warner for the time being.

As Aussie captain Patrick Cummins said: "For someone who made 200 in a Test, it’s pretty hard to go past them a week after".