Khawaja suffers setback ahead of return


Batsman Usman Khawaja's hopes of a swift return to the Australia Test side suffered a blow when he was ruled out of the opening Big Bash League match for the Sydney Thunder against Sydney Sixes scheduled for Thursday.

Khawaja, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, was hoping to prove his fitness in the domestic T20 tournament to be in contention to play for the Aussies in the Boxing Day Test against the West Indies in Melbourne.

The Thunder's medical staff, together with Cricket Australia, are now eyeing the fixture against the Melbourne Stars on 20 December for the left-hander to make his comeback.

Khawaja, who strained his hamstring in the second Test against New Zealand in November, needs to prove his fitness in a match if he is to be considered for the national team.

Australia coach Darren Lehmann said previously: "Usman's first got to be fit. If he's not fit he won't play, there's no doubt about that.

"We've got to make sure he's playing BBL to get some sort of match fitness and see how the strain of the hamstring is and then when we get him in on the 23rd (December) we'll have a look at him and see whether he's available to play."

If Khawaja is ruled out it would save Lehmann and the selectors from a selection dilemma as Khawaja's replacement, Shaun Marsh, struck a big century in the first Test victory against the Windies in Hobart.