Usman Khawaja of the Thunder plays a shot during the Big Bash League (BBL) match between the Melbourne Stars and the Sydney Thunder at the MCG in Melbourne, Saturday, January 20, 2018. (AAP Image/Mal Fairclough) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Usman Khawaja of the Thunder plays a shot during the Big Bash League (BBL) match between the Melbourne Stars and the Sydney Thunder at the MCG in Melbourne, Saturday, January 20, 2018. (AAP Image/Mal Fairclough) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Khawaja: ‘Fans should get the best all the time’

USMAN Khawaja hopes there are no future overlaps in the international schedule so Australian players are not denied the chance to play all three formats and fans robbed of seeing the strongest line-up.

The Twenty20 team named on Monday will be weakened because several Test stars, including Khawaja and Nathan Lyon, will be off-limits as they prepare for the South African Test tour.

The final of the T20 series featuring New Zealand and England will be held on February 21, just one day before a warm-up game in South Africa is due to commence.

Khawaja and Lyon have been stars in the Big Bash since they reported back from Ashes duty, and while they have both declared their desire to return to the T20 side, it will only happen if there are no future scheduling bungles.

 

Selector Mark Waugh conceded during Ten's Big Bash coverage on Saturday night there would be several players not considered, not because of form but red-ball commitments.

"The players have talked about it with administrators, and I think the majority of players agree we'd prefer not to have a cross-over of games, especially in international cricket,'' Khawaja said.

"We want the best team - the No. 1 Australian team - to be playing the whole time. It's unfortunate how the schedule has ended up.

"Hopefully in the future we have the No. 1 team out there the whole time. It's a decision out of my hands.''

Waugh said this month the selectors were mindful of fielding a strong T20 team, but the South African tour also meant several of our stars would need their workloads closely monitored.

On the weekend, Waugh said one positive was the chance for some fringe players to get their chance to shine in Australian colours.

Khawaja was awaiting scans on a thumb injury late on Sunday night, yet still managed to blast an effortless 44 off 26 balls in the Thunder's seven-wicket victory over the Melbourne Stars a night earlier with one hand.

He tonked an 85 off 51 balls two games earlier, and will play a key role in helping the Thunder keep their faint BBL finals hopes alive on Wednesday against the Melbourne Renegades in Canberra.

Cricket Australia could even be tempted to step in and stand down Khawaja as precaution with the South African around the corner.

If the Renegades lose against Adelaide on Monday night, they will remain on eight points, along with the Thunder and Brisbane Heat who will all slug it out for fourth spot.

Lyon has been brilliant for the Sydney Sixers but another unlucky to miss out on T20 duty.

Thunder skipper Shane Watson was full of praise for Khawaja and said: "He's got serious skill, and not many batters around Australia let alone the world have the skill like Uzzy''.



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