Khawaja insisted that Labuschagne should remain at number three given his success in that role, and said he was wary of messing with it too much given the difficulty of opening the batting.
“Did you ask Marnus this? I think he would give you a very clear answer: no,” Khawaja said. “Marnus got sore in the opener. I’m sure Davey Warner hurt his arm and sent Alex Carey in to open. I think that’s a long shot.
“Opening is not easy. It is hard work. I can tell you that because I fought back [No.]1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 for Australia. I’m telling you that opening is the hardest and it is very difficult to bring in someone who has not opened.
“I’m sure if you put Marnus there in the opener he will do very well. But will he do as well in the opener as he does in the third? I’m not sure.
“I don’t want to risk it [given he’s] Average 55 [56.81] At the age of three, Steve Smith averages 60 years [58.61] Generally. So you won’t want to mess with it too much.
“Opening can be very difficult mentally more than physically, so I’m always a little shy about not letting people who haven’t opened much in the past open at-bats.”
“He did well at number five,” Khawaja said. “There’s no point in switching people around. We’ve got too many openings to choose from. I don’t see any point in switching players around for that. I think people are talking about that because of Mitch Marsh and Cameron Green. But I think they’ll go to the same place.” . So decide who is the best player for that match at that time and then worry about the rest of the team.”
He said he had an opinion on which player was the best of the three but would not reveal it and was not asked to provide the Australian selectors’ preferred future partner.
Al-Khawaja said, “It won’t matter anyway even if they ask me. I will tell them to choose whoever you think is the best.”
“I’m not willing to talk about it, to be honest. I think there’s a lot of things that go into it. I’m not privy to watching all these guys and all their hitting. To be honest, even if I think one was better than the other it’s so small that maybe “It doesn’t matter. I think the three guys vying to open the batting deserve it. For me, it’s very easy to sit back and say take your pick.”