MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: Usman Khawaja of the Thunder bats during the Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Renegades and the Sydney Thunder at GMHBA Stadium on December 19, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: Usman Khawaja of the Thunder bats during the Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Renegades and the Sydney Thunder at GMHBA Stadium on December 19, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Uzzy demands change after near-catastrophic spill

Usman Khawaja fears Big Bash League players will be at risk of serious injury at Geelong's GMHBA Stadium unless authorities make changes to the centre wicket area.

 

The experienced batsman, who admitted he was shocked by his axing from Australia's ODI team this week, slipped twice while attempting a run between the wickets during Sydney Thunder's win over Melbourne Renegades on Thursday night.

 

In doing so, he jarred his troublesome knee, and later blamed the injury on the grass either side of the single drop-in pitch at the Renegades' second home venue, which is scheduled to host two Big Bash League matches this summer.

 

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Usman Khawaja pulled up with an injury after running between the wickets.
Usman Khawaja pulled up with an injury after running between the wickets.

The grass became slippery when dew appeared on the ground during the second innings, played under lights.

 

Khawaja called for a minimum of three drop-in pitches at every ground to give batsmen more suitable surfaces to run on, and also suggested the grass could be trimmed much shorter than usual.

 

Khawaja said he and fellow opener Alex Hales had specifically changed their running patterns in an attempt to avoid injury.

 

"It's not great running between the wickets out there because there's only one wicket to run on," Khawaja said.

 

"When Hales was running on the edge of the wicket I had to run around him.

 

"I was trying to run too, and it takes a lot of time to run around and then back onto the wicket.

 

Hales and Khawaja put on an impressive opening stand.
Hales and Khawaja put on an impressive opening stand.

"They need to do something there, cut the grass shorter on either side of the wicket, because I just don't think that's good enough for high-level cricket."

 

Khawaja spent seven months out of the game in 2014 after knee surgery, and has since had further operations on less serious injuries.

 

He batted on after the scare in Geelong, scoring 66 runs in a six-wicket win, and declared himself fit to play in Canberra on Saturday when the unbeaten Thunder chase a third straight victory to start the season, against Adelaide Strikers.

 

Despite his strong form, Khawaja was left out of Australia's ODI squad for the tour of India next month.

 

The 33-year-old admitted he was caught off-guard by the decision and doesn't know exactly where he stands, with selectors seemingly leaning in favour of younger players after this year's World Cup semi-final exit.

 

"They can't really tell me to score more runs because I'm one of the highest run-scorers in international cricket," Khawaja said.

 

Khawaja is disappointed to be left out of the Aussie ODI squad.
Khawaja is disappointed to be left out of the Aussie ODI squad.

"I scored plenty of runs and did plenty well when I came back here, so I don't think there was too much they could say, and there wasn't too much I wanted to say back to them.

 

"It's disappointing, I copped it on the chin and I'm just looking forward to playing for Thunder now."

News Corp Australia


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