Melbourne : Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has backed left-hand batsman Usman Khawaja, ahead of the upcoming two-match Test series against Pakistan, by stating that he is country's 'best batsman by a street.'
Ponting further suggested that he should be given more playing opportunities as it would help him to get better and better in the subcontinent conditions.
"There's been lots of different discussions over the last couple of years about Khawaja and how to get the get the best out of him. Is he an Australian Test match player only? Do we just not pick him on the subcontinent? I just think you've got to keep picking him - with Warner and those guys out, he's clearly our best batsman by a street," cricket.com.au quoted Ponting, as saying.
"The more he can play in those conditions, the more he'll start to work it out. He's a class player, no doubt about that. The more secure he can probably feel in his own mind, we'll see him get better and better," he added.
Reflecting on Australia's spin combination ahead of the First Test against Pakistan, Ponting said that left-arm bowler Jon Holland would be the best choice to assist Nathon Lyon in the match.
"It's a no-brainer to me - Jon Holland without thinking twice. He has been Australia's second best spinner for some time - whenever he plays for Victoria, he takes wicket after wicket. He's a quality bowler," he said.
Usman Khawaja has been picked up in the 15-member Australian squad for the upcoming two-match Test series against Pakistan which is slated to be held from October 7 to October 20.