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No hard feelings with Khawaja: Lehmann

AAP logoAAP 24/10/2016 Laine Clark

There are no hard feelings after Usman Khawaja described national selectors as "fickle" and claimed he had been made a "scapegoat", Darren Lehmann says.

In fact, the Australia coach reckons he can see the funny side of Khawaja's criticism.

"We have the GOAT," Lehmann said, referring to off-spinner Nathan Lyon's Greatest Of All Time nickname.

"And now we have the Scapegoat. I love these nicknames."

Lehmann said he would talk privately with Khawaja but claimed the batsman would not be on the outer with selectors ahead of Friday's Test team announcement.

"He is not on the back foot," said Lehmann, who is on the national selection panel.

"(But) I will chat to him privately.

"We would rather have these things played out between selectors and players."

Khawaja took aim at selectors after he and Joe Burns were dropped during the ill-fated Sri Lankan tour.

Asked if Khawaja's demotion was warranted, Lehmann said: "Being on the selection panel for the Test match, it was warranted.

"At the end of the day, there were different conditions and those two guys weren't playing well enough.

"We had to change something, but that doesn't affect the summer at home."

The Australian squad is named on Friday for next week's first Test against South Africa in Perth.

Lehmann said there were "a few spots" up for grabs in day-night Sheffield Shield games across the country starting on Tuesday.

Queensland's Khawaja and Burns will vie with Western Australia's Shaun Marsh for the chance to open with David Warner.

A middle order berth may be also up for grabs.

Marsh has the inside running after stroking 73 against South Australia in Perth on Tuesday.

Burns (21 not out) and Khawaja (18 not out) survived some tense moments to steer Queensland to 1-39 at stumps in reply to NSW's 7-(dec)327.

The other contentious topic is the choice of third seamer to back up spearhead Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

Victoria's Peter Siddle and Tasmania's Jackson Bird are having a bowl off at the MCG.

Bird took 1-53 after Victoria cruised to 4-351 on Tuesday.

"There will be a few spots up for grabs," Lehmann said.

"But we have to see how the fitness of certain players is and how they get through.

"That will determine how many spots are up for grabs."

Siddle returned from a back injury in the recent one-day tournament for the Bushrangers.

"By all reports he's got some zing and zip back which is great for us," Lehmann said.

"He can bowl good line and length that can complement Starc but so can Jackson Bird - all those guys are in the frame.

"They can bowl themselves into the side over the next few days."

Starc (0-26 off six overs) returned for NSW on Tuesday from a leg gash that kept him out of the one-day domestic tournament, bowling with plenty of venom but not much luck at the Gabba.

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