Club, then country: Khawaja, Labuschagne maintain Heat on unrelenting schedule
Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne have chosen to stick with the Brisbane Heat a matter of days before flying to India on Test duty, and will attempt to take the club one step closer to the Big Bash League title in Melbourne on Sunday night.
In the face of an unrelenting schedule that also features an obligation to appear at the Australian Cricket Awards in Sydney on Monday night, Khawaja and Labuschagne will maintain much-needed star power at the back end of the tournament.
Usman Khawaja switches it up on his way to 94 off 55 balls against the Thunder.Credit:Getty Images
Australia’s head coach Andrew McDonald didn’t require Khawaja and Labuschagne to front for a mini-camp in Sydney over the next three days – only that they monitored their preparedness and did not play if injured.
The Heat will lose the services of wrist spinner Mitch Swepson when they face the Renegades, as he, Ashton Agar, Todd Murphy and a select group of other India tourists are required to be training in Sydney over the next two days.
David Warner’s comeback stint with the Thunder ended with their elimination by a combination of the Heat and Sydney’s capricious weather, and he finished his stint by noting how little time at home many players now have before attempting to win a Test series in India for the first time since 2004.
“It’s been challenging – I’m quite tired, exhausted,” Warner said. “I’ll have five days at home now with the Australian Cricket Awards as well. A few guys have gone to the UAE league, which aren’t going to the CA awards – from my perspective it would be nice to have another night at home, but it is what it is.”
Warner admitted that his Thunder stint – subject of drawn-out talks between his management, the club and CA against the backdrop of broadcast negotiations – had not panned out as hoped, and resolved to be fresher for the task next time around.
“For me, it’s about coming back and injecting some energy into the Thunder team and trying to put my best foot forward for the team, and play my role for Australian cricket as well, which is come back and hopefully put some entertainment out there,” he said.
“It hasn’t come off this year, but hopefully next year I can come out and be a little bit fresher than what I am at the moment. We had a World Cup to start [the summer], next year we’ll have a World Cup as well, it’s going to be a long lead-in to our summer next year. So from a personal point of view I’m going to have to work out how I can stay nice and fresh.”
Khawaja took some time on Friday before confirming his availability for the match against the Renegades.
“I haven’t thought that far ahead if I’m being honest,” he told reporters after getting past the Thunder. “We’re obviously going away for six-and-a-half weeks, my family is coming over for the AB Medal that’s happening on the 30th. There’s a lot happening right now.
“I wanted to just win this game, and then I’ll cross that bridge and figure out what I want to do. I’ll have to talk to the coach about it first and see what he can do.”
Steve Smith, who has dominated the BBL since making a series of technical changes last year to free-up his scoring options, plays for the Sydney Sixers against the Perth Scorchers on Saturday night.
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