Islamabad – April 29 (Online): Usman Khawaja is set to play in Pakistan, the country of his birth, for the first time after he was picked up in the Pakistan Super League s replacement draft overnight.
Khawaja was selected by the Islamabad United franchise, the club that represents his city of birth, for the rescheduled tournament that has been scheduled for June.
He will be joined by fellow Australians James Faulkner, Callum Ferguson and Joe Burns, who were all selected by the Lahore Qalandars.
The PSL was halted in March amid several breaches of the tournament s biosecurity arrangements, with numerous players contracting COVID-19. The tournament was suspended after 14 matches had been played, and the remaining 20 games will be played in the National Stadium in Karachi in June.
The news four Australians have signed up to head to the subcontinent in June comes as some Australians have opted to leave the Indian Premier League amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic in that country.
For Khawaja, who was born in Islamabad before his family emigrated to Australia at age five, the chance to play in a rescheduled T20 league was too good to pass up given the PSL usually conflicts with the Australian domestic summer.
“As long as I m playing domestic cricket in Australia I won t get the opportunity to play in the PSL,” Khawaja told cricket.com.au earlier this month.
“This might be a little blessing in disguise to play over there. I d love to go over there and play.
“I ve played in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh but I ve never played in Pakistan where I was born and it s something I would love to do, to go home to where it all began for myself, my family.”
“I love cricket returning to that region, too, because I think they re doing some really, really good stuff over there, doing some really hard work to get people to come over there and play.