Muslim player named for Australian test squad

Published: Wednesday, June 23, 2010, 16:47 [IST]
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Muslim player for  Australian test team

Sydney: Usman Khawaja became the first Muslim player picked for an Australian Test squad Tuesday as selectors announced a 14-man team for the two-match series against Pakistan, the country of his birth.

The 23-year-old batsman, Usman Khawaja admitted feeling 'shocked' after being selected for the July Tests in England, which were moved from Pakistan over security problems including last year's extremist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus.

"I was a bit shocked, I had a feeling I was close but that could mean absolutely nothing," he said.

The Islamabad-born Khawaja now stands a chance to become the first player to wear Australian test-cap, just months before the much-anticipated Ashes series against England.

The Chairman of selectors said that Khawaja had earned his place because of his good show in the domestic competition. He scored 698 runs for his domestic side New South Wales, including three test centuries in the last season.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was also tentatively included despite fitness doubts over an elbow tendon problem, with his progress to be monitored until the squad's departure late next week.

Australia will play two Tests against Pakistan at Lord's (July 13-17) and Headingley (July 21-25).

Squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Doug Bollinger, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Usman Khawaja, Marcus North, Steven Smith, Shane Watson.


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