SYDNEY, Jan 30, (Agencies): In-form batsman Usman Khawaja was Saturday brought into Australia’s squad for the final Twenty20 match against India, with Shane Watson to captain in place of injured skipper Aaron Finch.
Finch injured his left hamstring in Friday night’s match which India won by 27 runs, giving the tourists an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-game series.
Cricket Australia said Finch will miss the third and final Twenty20 in Sydney on Sunday but the full extent of his injury was not yet known.
“With Finch sidelined, Usman Khawaja has stepped into the squad for Sunday’s game and has also been drafted in to the one-day international squad for the tour of New Zealand,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.
Khawaja’s omission from the one-day squad to play across the Tasman had earlier caused controversy given the batsman’s red-hot form.
Acting head coach Michael Di Venuto said Khawaja, who hit 70 off 40 deliveries in the recent final of the domestic T20 competition, “thoroughly deserves” his opportunity in the short form of the game.
He admitted that India had been too strong for Australia in the Twenty20s, saying the home side had been “getting completely outplayed in all three departments… bat, ball and the field”.
India won the first match of the series at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday by 37 runs when Australia were unable to overhaul the 188 total.
Di Venuto said the hosts had started well in their run chase in the second game on Friday, with Finch scoring 74 off 48 balls before he was run out.
But it was not enough to get Australia a win after India made 184 for three and then followed up with a strong spin attack.
He said Finch was still waiting on the results of scans.
“Hopefully for Finchy it’s not too bad and we can see him recover and be fully fit for the World Cup,” said Di Venuto, who has stepped into Darren Lehmann’s role while the head coach recovers from deep vein thrombosis.
Australia squad for the final match Twenty20 against India: Shane Watson (captain), Cameron Bancroft, Scott Boland, Cameron Boyce, James Faulkner, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Chris Lynn, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Tait, Andrew Tye.
West Indies have taken a gamble by naming Sunil Narine in their squad for the World Twent20 tournament in March as the off-spinner is currently suspended from bowling in international cricket due to an illegal action.
The 27-year-old was reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC) during a one-day series in Sri Lanka last November and was later sanctioned after an independent assessment found his elbow extended beyond the maximum limit of 15 degrees.
Considered an asset to the side, Narine was also initially selected for last year’s 50-over World Cup but later withdrawn, and has been working on his action in a desperate attempt to get it cleared in time for the World Twenty20 in India.
All-rounder Darren Sammy will lead the world’s top-ranked T20 side, which includes 11 players from the contingent that won the last World Cup in Sri Lanka four years ago. The 15-man squad will assemble in the United Arab Emirates for a preparatory camp between Feb 22 and March 6, and will travel to India on March 7 for the tournament.
England, South Africa, Sri Lanka and a qualifying team from the first round of the tournament have been pooled with West Indies in group one of the Super 10 stage at the World T20.
Squad: Darren Sammy (captain), Samuel Badree, Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Jerome Taylor.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has been named to lead his country in his final one-day series against Australia next month, providing he can prove his fitness.
The 34-year-old is expected to play New Zealand’s third and final one-day international against Pakistan in Auckland on Sunday, as he makes his way back from a back injury he sustained last month against Sri Lanka.
“I’ve had a good couple of hits (in the nets),” McCullum told reporters in Auckland on Saturday. “It’s probably not 100 per cent but there’s a bit of stiffness so hopefully I’ll be fine for tomorrow.”