Even with a tour of South Africa on the horizon, Usman Khawaja insists he is focused solely on the team’s fortunes and not his own place within it.
Khawaja has yet to make a big score in this Ashes series, reaching 50 only twice in the first four Tests and failing twice in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
His is the latest spot to be put up for debate, and with only one Test left in this home summer the need for runs has become slightly more urgent.
But Khawaja says he is refusing to think any further ahead than Sydney and winning more Ashes Tests for Australia.
“That’s far from my mind, I’m just out there trying to play cricket, trying to do well for the team for the next game,” Khawaja said.
“It’s a long way away, and I know myself if I keep working hard and doing the right things, I’m going to score runs.
“Situations like this, when you don’t score runs in one Test match, apparently you’re out of form. But I felt pretty good last Test match when I made a 50, so I feel fine.”
Khawaja’s head is not in the sand though, and he is the first to admit he has under-performed for Australia this summer.
“[The summer has been] definitely less than what I hoped for,” he said.
“So it’s probably disappointing in that respect, but I still feel good.
“I feel like I’ve contributed to the first three wins in some respect, so for me it’s just about going out there to do as well as I can to hopefully set up games.
While Khawaja feels like his best form is not far away, he has sent some rare praise the way of the English bowlers.
“They’re actually bowling quite well to me. They’re a good bowling unit,” he said.
“A lot of criticism has come from the public about their bowling attack, but Jimmy Anderson I feel is still bowling very well. He doesn’t give you many scoring options.
“Broady [Stuart Broad], without taking too many wickets in the last couple of games, he has still bowling well up the front.”
Classic Khawaja catch a memorable Ashes moment
It may not have come with the bat, but Khawaja can at least say he has played a part in one unforgettable moment this series.
His outfield catch late on day three at the MCG was one to remember for a number of reasons — the degree of difficulty in the catch, its contentious nature and the fact Khawaja’s face made significant contact with the turf.
“I wasn’t even worried about the catch, I was trying to spit out everything and make sure my front two teeth were there,” he said.
Khawaja defended his claiming of the catch, telling umpires he felt he had held onto it but recommending they check regardless.
“I obviously ran in and felt the ball come out of my hand as I hit the ground,” he said.
“Then I felt the ball roll up my chest, and then straight back into my right hand. If you watch the replay, it literally happened in less than a second and my hand never went from palm facing up either, so I felt it roll straight into my hand.
“I don’t think I’ve ever purposely cheated in cricket before, or said I’ve tried to claim a catch or anything. I’m pretty strong on that sort of thing.
“So I felt like I caught it and I was the first person to go up to the umpires and say ‘you might want to have a look because I didn’t actually see it go in, but I’m confident that I felt it roll straight up my chest and go into my hand’. I was pretty confident of that.”