Usman Khawaja has been called up to Australia's Twenty20 International (T20I) squad as a replacement for Aaron Finch for the final game against India on January 31, Cricket Australia (CA) announced on Friday (January 29). Shane Watson is likely to lead the side for the Sydney clash after Finch, the regular T20I skipper, was ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Finch suffered the injury during the second T20I against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which India won to take an unassailable 2-0 lead.The skipper, who scored a brilliant 48-ball 74, pulled his hamstring muscle in the 16th over and was run out. Australia, chasing 185, ended up well short of the target to suffer their first bilateral series loss against India at home.
"Aaron suffered the injury to his left hamstring while batting and although it is too early to confirm the full extent of the issue, we do know that it will prevent him playing in Sydney on Sunday," Alex Kountouris, Cricket Australia's Sports Science and Sports Medicine Manager said. "We believe it is not a recurrence of a previous injury he suffered to the same hamstring. Aaron will remain in Melbourne to undergo scans and we will be in a position to announce in due course the expected length of time he will be sidelined."
"I don't know the extent yet, but unfortunately for Finchy, it's probably at least a week or so out, Speaking from personal experience. It's unfortunate for him, he batted beautifully as well again, so it's unfortunate it worked out that way.That's all I'm going to say," said Watson at the post-match press conference, when asked about Finch's injury and whether the all-rounder is ready to captain the team on Sunday.
In such a case, Finch could also miss a few matches in the One-Day International (ODI) series against New Zealand, starting on February 2. The batsman, who was left with a feeling of frustration after suffering the injury, was hopeful that the recovery will not take a long time."It is hugely frustrating to suffer this injury," Finch said. "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."
Khawaja was considered unlucky not to make it to the Australian squad initially. He had amassed 345 runs in just four matches to help Sydney Thunder lift the Big Bash League title recently.
Australia's count of T20I debutants in this series will rise to six if Cameron Bancroft, already named in the squad, and Khawaja feature in the Sydney game.
Australia squad for third T20I: Cameron Bancroft (wk), Scott Boland, Cameron Boyce, James Faulkner, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Chris Lynn, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Tait, Andrew Tye, Shane Watson.