Strikers v Thunder, BBL semi-final, Adelaide January 21, 2016

Khawaja lauds Thunder's work behind the scenes

Usman Khawaja - ""It was a bit of a helpless feeling and there were times when I thought 'do I want to be in this team still?'" © Getty Images and Cricket Australia

Usman Khawaja believes Sydney Thunder are reaping the rewards of the work of Michael Hussey and general manager Nick Cummins, following his quickfire hundred in the semi-final against Adelaide Strikers. After a horror run in the early years of the BBL, Thunder made their first final, and Khawaja admitted he had once considered his future with the franchise.

"It was tough because you play cricket to win and you're trying your best and that's still not happening," Khawaja said. "It was a bit of a helpless feeling and there were times when I thought 'do I want to be in this team still?' But when Huss came on board I thought we had a really good chance of picking the team up from the bottom. I talked to Huss when he first came on, and I said the Thunder was close to my heart, having grown up in Western Sydney and that we could do this, but it might take a bit of time.

"I think the overall roster has seen a big change and is a lot more balanced now. We have hitters, batsman, pace and spin. A lot has gone on behind the scenes too - Nick Cummins, our GM - has done a lot over the last three years, hiring good people, and there's a good vibe. That's helped the guys on the field - there are a lot of hidden heroes behind the scenes who don't get the congratulations that we do."

Saturday's final, against either Melbourne Stars or Perth Scorchers, will be Hussey's final game in Australia.

Will Macpherson writes on cricket for the Guardian, ESPNcricinfo and All Out Cricket. @willis_macp

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