Australia news December 18, 2015

Khawaja fit to play BBL for Sydney Thunder

ESPNcricinfo staff

Usman Khawaja had sustained a "moderate strain" in his left hamstring while chasing a ball in the Perth Test against New Zealand © CA

Australia batsman Usman Khawaja was declared fit to play for his Big Bash League franchise Sydney Thunder's next game at the MCG on Sunday. This will be Khawaja's first competitive match after he had sustained a "moderate strain" in his left hamstring while chasing a ball on the second evening of the Perth Test against New Zealand. He was subsequently ruled out of the rest of the series after scoring centuries in the first innings of the first two Tests of the series.

Khawaja, however, was named in the squad for Australia's next Test against West Indies at the MCG. Australia's selectors will now face the difficult task in picking the XI for the MCG Test as his replacement, Shaun Marsh, scored 182 and was involved in a record partnership with Adam Voges in the first Test in Hobart.

Speaking on the selection dilemma for the MCG Test, Australia coach Darren Lehmann had said that he would be happy for Khawaja to return to the team as an opening batsman, though he would have to run that past captain Steven Smith.

"We will have to see if Uzzy is fit and then we will have a dilemma," Lehmann said. "If he is fit, having scored two hundreds in the two Test matches [against New Zealand] yes, you would think he would be in form to play. We need him playing. With a hamstring, we don't want him playing Test match cricket if he is not fully fit.

"He will have to be sharp in the T20 games and then we will make a decision from there. If he comes back in someone will miss out. We have to work out that is. I would [be happy with Khawaja opening] but the captain might not want that. We have to work out the best six and the batting order from there."

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