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Khawaja to replace injured Finch for third T20, Watson to captain

Shane Watson (right) will lead Australia in the third T20I against India in Sydney.
Shane Watson (right) will lead Australia in the third T20I against India in Sydney.
©REUTERS / Action Images

The Australian selectors have named Usman Khawaja as the replacement for injured Aaron Finch for the third Twenty20 International against India in Sydney while Shane Watson will lead the team.

Finch suffered a hamstring injury during the second T20I in Melbourne but went on to score a valiant 48-ball 74 run knock which went in vain as India cantered home to a 27-run win to take the series 2-0.

Khawaja has been in a rich vein of form in the T20 format having scored 345 runs from just four matches at an average of 172.50 including two centuries in the recently concluded 2015-16 Big Bash.

Meanwhile, Watson will become the ninth player to captain Australia in the shortest format after the national selection panel recommended him.

The Australian all-rounder had experiences of captaining the now suspended Rajasthan Royals team in the previous edition of Indian Premier League but later was replaced by Steven Smith. 

Revealing it is a "honour" to lead the side, Watson remained determined on putting up a good performance despite the series defeat. 

“It is an honour to be asked to lead the side on Sunday, although the circumstances are far from ideal.

“We may have lost the series but there is a great deal to play for with the ICC World Twenty20 coming up and you can be sure we will be determined to do well in Sydney.”

Watson also expressed that Khawaja richly deserves his chance in the T20I team as he has been batting excellently well in all formats of the game.

"Usman is very well placed to be able to play anywhere at the moment, wherever the opportunity arises because he's batting incredibly well, as well as I've ever seen anyone bat.

"He's ready to go, and whatever [format] the opportunity arises, he's in incredible control of his game at the moment.

“Whatever opportunities come his way he incredibly deserves." 

Speaking from his own experiences with hamstring injuries, Watson stated that the injury to Finch is expected to keep him out for at least a week if not more.

"Aaron is being assessed at the moment but unfortunately he's definitely done some form of damage to his hamstring.

"At this point in time obviously we don't exactly know the extent, but unfortunately for Finchy it's at least probably a week or so out, from my own personal experience a number of times.

“It's very unfortunate for him because he batted beautifully again tonight." 

Finch admitted that it was frustrating to have suffered from the injury so close to a tournament like the ICC World T20, but is hoping to be fit in time for the mega-event.

"It is hugely frustrating to suffer this injury.

“I am hoping it will not keep me out for a lengthy period of time, especially with an ICC World Twenty20 on the horizon, but I will be guided by the specialists." 

The Australian selectors are expected to announce the captain for the ICC World T20 tournament in the coming month.

Squad for the third T20I against India: 

Shane Watson (captain), Cameron Bancroft, Scott Boland, Cameron Boyce, James Faulkner, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Chris Lynn, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Tait, Andrew Tye

© Cricket World 2016