Australian left-handed batsman Usman Khawaja has signed a four-year contract with Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League (BBL). Earlier, Khawaja played for Sydney Thunder but left the team, citing family reasons.
Khawaja has expressed happiness over signing the contract with the new team. He said that he feels great to be back home. Khawaja wrote on Twitter,
I am very looking forward to going back home to the Brisbane Heat. Brisbane and Queensland are very important to me. I am looking to do something unique and also looking forward to having some fun.
In the 2011-12 season, Khawaja played for Sydney for the first time, and till last season he played continuously for Sydney and is the highest run-scorer for this team.
With his return to the Heat, he has also been given the new responsibility of captaincy. Khawaja has played 59 matches so far and scored 1818 runs with an average of 34.30. Khawaja has scored two centuries and ten half-centuries in this league.
Khawaja’s move to the Heat had long been speculated after announcing his departure from the Thunder in February. Khawaja called it “the toughest call” he’d ever made as a cricketer at the time, and he’s been a cornerstone of Sydney Thunder since the BBL began in 2011-12.
In 2015-16, he was a key figure in Thunder’s lone title, scoring 104 not out in the semi-final against Adelaide Strikers and 70 of 40 in the winning final against Melbourne Stars. Last season, he also led Thunder as captain.
Usman Khawaja is currently playing Tests in Sri Lanka
35-year-old Khawaja is currently on international duty with Australia on a tour of Sri Lanka. He is participating in the ongoing Test series between the two countries. Earlier this year, Khawaja had performed brilliantly in the Test series in Pakistan.
Khawaja had scored 496 runs in five innings of three matches at an average of 166. During this, Khawaja had scored two centuries and two half-centuries. In the half-centuries he had scored, there was an innings of one 97 and one 91.
Khawaja to captain Brisbane Heat after signing a four-year deal
Khawaja’s move to the Heat fills the void left by Chris Lynn, who chose not to re-sign as the BBL’s all-time leading run-scorer after 11 seasons with the club.
Khawaja will captain the Heat when he is available, but he will miss the first half of the upcoming BBL season while on Test duty for Australia. He is expected to be available after the conclusion of the Sydney Test against South Africa on January 8, with the BBL season expected to last until the end of that month. When Khawaja is unavailable, Jimmy Peirson, who captained the Heat last season, will take over as captain.
Khawaja is enthusiastic about the BBL and has spoken about the competition’s future direction, stating that Cricket Australia must do more.