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Usman Khawaja available for Sydney Thunder selection

Usman Khawaja available for Sydney Thunder selection
Usman Khawaja available for Sydney Thunder selection

After starring in the Baggy Green Test cap of Australia, Usman Khawaja said it would be special to wear Sydney Thunder’s distinctive green shirt in tomorrow’s KFC Big Bash League match against the Melbourne Renegades at the MCG.

Khawaja, who enjoyed a phenomenal return to the Australian Test team with twin centuries against England in the New Year’s Test in Sydney, made his intention to play for Thunder crystal clear upon his arrival in Melbourne this afternoon.

“I plan to,” said Khawaja when asked if he’d pad up against the Renegades tomorrow.

“I’m pretty tired at the moment, but I have a little bit of time between now and then so I’m looking forward to it.”

Khawaja said he’d admired how the team had performed to sit third on the ladder during a season that’s had its share of COVID-19 related hurdles.

“Just an unbelievable effort by everyone,” he enthused. “Everyone has contributed.

“It seems everyone has had a score with the bat and all the bowlers have had a good game, or a few good games, at some point.

“It’s just been a really good all-round effort. Normally you have a couple of guys that are standing up and carrying the team – which is pretty normal T20 cricket, and what you kind of want.

“But at the moment it seems as though everyone has been performing . . . it seems a hard team to crack back into.”

Khawaja also praised Chris Green for the job he’s done in leading Thunder.

“I haven’t been around, but the team has been performing really well,” he said. “I’ve touched base here and there with ‘Greeny’ and a few of the other guys; they’re always a good bunch of blokes who love playing cricket and love enjoying their banter."

“I’m still on the WhatsApp groups and listen to what’s going on, and there’s been a really good vibe. Fingers crossed we can get another win leading into the final and finish as high as possible.”

Khawaja said his message to Thunder Nation was that he’s committed to doing everything possible to help the team win its second BBL championship title.

“Hopefully try to get a win tomorrow, and try to get another trophy,” he said of his ambitions. “It seems like BBL|05 doesn’t seem that long ago, but it was . . so, try to do my best for that, and try to contribute to a win.

“I love the green, I love Thunder.

“That’s where I grew up playing, western Sydney – I’m a 'Westie' – so it just has that little bit more of a feeling.”

Sydney Thunder will announce its captain for tomorrow's match against the Renegades at the bat flip.

Sydney Thunder BBL Squad

Head Coach: Trevor Bayliss

Assistant Coach: Shawn Bradstreet, Daniel Smith

Contracted for BBL|11: Usman Khawaja (C), Sam Billings (ENG), Jonathon Cook, Ben Cutting, Ollie Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green (Acting Captain), Alex Hales (ENG), Lachlan Hearne, Baxter Holt, Saqib Mahmood (ENG), Nathan McAndrew, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain.