Khawaja faces race against time to make Test return

Australia's Usman Khawaja plays a shot during play on day one of the first cricket test between Australia and New Zealand in Brisbane. Photo: AP Photo/Tertius Pickard.
Australia's Usman Khawaja plays a shot during play on day one of the first cricket test between Australia and New Zealand in Brisbane. Photo: AP Photo/Tertius Pickard.

Usman Khawaja could have just one Big Bash League innings to prove his fitness for the Boxing Day Test.

The Queenslander hasn't played since injuring his hamstring while fielding late on day two on the second Test against New Zealand in Perth a month ago.

Either Shaun Marsh or Joe Burns was expected to make way for Khawaja after he was added to Australia's squad for the second Test against the West Indies in Melbourne, although coach Darren Lehmann said the left-hander would need to play in the BBL to show he had recovered from the injury.

His participation is now in doubt after being ruled out of Sydney Thunder's line-up for the opening match against the Sydney Sixers on Thursday night.

A statement on the team's website said: "Cricket Australia has been working with Thunder medical staff on Usman's return-to-play criteria following his hamstring injury.

"At this stage the plan is to have him return for the Thunder's second match against the Melbourne Stars at the MCG on Sunday.

"His participation will be confirmed later in the week."

Khawaja made 174 and nine not out against New Zealand at the Gabba last month, and then 121 in the second Test before injury struck. Burns started the summer with 71 and 129 in Brisbane, but has since produced scores of 40, 0, 14, 11 and 33.

Marsh made a valuable 49 in the Adelaide day-night Test after being recalled, and put the pressure on selectors with 182 against the West Indies in Hobart.


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