Usman Khawaja named as captain of Sydney Thunder in Big Bash League

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Sydney, Sep 2 (IANS) Big Bash League (BBL) franchise Sydney Thunder on Thursday have announced opener Usman Khawaja as their captain for the upcoming 11th season of the league. Khawaja will be replacing Callum Ferguson, who was released by Thunder after the end of last season.

Khawaja has been part of Sydney Thunder since the inception of the BBL. Apart from being their longest-serving player, he is also the highest-run scorer for them with 1718 runs at an average of 33.68, including two centuries. He also serves as the captain of Queensland in the Sheffield Shield, who won the title last season.

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“It’s a great privilege to be captain of any team, but for me especially being captain of Sydney Thunder probably means a little more. I grew up in Western Sydney, about ten minutes from where the Thunder play at Sydney Showground Stadium, and even though I now live in Queensland I have never forgotten where I come from. The majority of my close friends are from Western Sydney and I have that strong emotional connection with club and the region. It’s very close to my heart,” said Khawaja in a release issued by the club.

Khawaja paid tribute to his predecessor Ferguson, whose exit from the club was controversial. “Cal was awesome as a bloke and teammate – he will be missed amongst the group here for sure. Me being captain, it’s not about reinventing the wheel. Everyone has their own way of captaining a team but having captained various sides for Queensland and Australia A for a few years I think it’s important to be who you are.”

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“I never change who I am just because I am captain. I am usually a bit of a jokester around the team and that doesn’t change as a captain. I know when to deliver a message that is serious and when we can be a little more relaxed,” added Khawaja.

The 34-year-old signed off by saying that the aim will be to guide the club to the BBL trophy. “It’s been five years since we won the BBL and that’s what it’s about, winning titles. If I can help us get there, that’s the biggest goal for a captain, supporting every player to get the best out of themselves so that a team is in a position to win. We are building towards that.”

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