Injured Aaron Finch replaced by Usman Khawaja for 3rd T20I
Australian T20 skipper Aaron Finch has been ruled out of the third and final T20 against India to be played at the SCG on Sunday and will be replaced by in-form batsman Usman Khawaja, ESPNCricinfo reports. With ODI & T20 skipper Steven Smith and senior member David Warner already missing, uncertainty remains however as to who will lead the side in the dead rubber against the visitors.
Finch, whose knock of 74 at the MCG went in vain with India winning the contest by 27 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, suffered a hamstring injury on the way to being dismissed run out following a mix-up with Mathew Wade. The skipper seemed furious with his partner and was unable to attend the post-match presentation ceremony with Shane Watson performing the formalities.
"Aaron, unfortunately, is being assessed at the moment, but he's definitely done some form of damage to his hamstring," Watson told reporters after the match, as reported by ESPN Cricinfo. "I don't know exactly the extent, but unfortunately, for Finchy, it's at least probably a week or so out based on my own personal experience a number of times. It's very unfortunate for him because he batted beautifully tonight."
Prior to the run-out, Finch had called upon the services of Bupa Support Team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris after seeming to struggle with his running between the wickets. What will be worrying the hosts is the fact that it is Finch’s second tryst with hamstring issues in less than a year having suffered a similar injury during the 2014 IPL season which resulted in the Australian opener being sidelined for a few months.
With the ICC World Twenty20 around the corner, Australian cricket fans will be waiting with anxious breath the result of Saturday’s scans which is expected to reveal the full extent of Finch’s injury.
Khawaja named as replacement
In-form batsman Usman Khawaja was meanwhile named as Finch's replacement for the final T20I against India and in all likelihood will be named in the Australian ODI squad as well for the upcoming series against rivals New Zealand.
Welcoming the decision made by the selectors to pick Khawaja, who had recently led Sydney Thunder to their maiden glory in the Big Bash League final last week, Watson said that the 29-year-old was richly deserving of the opportunity.
“Usman is very well placed to be able to play anywhere at the moment, wherever the opportunity arises," Watson said, "because he's batting incredibly well, as well as I've ever seen anyone bat. He's ready to go, and whatever [format] the opportunity arises, he's in incredible control of his game at the moment. Whatever opportunities come his way he incredibly deserves."
Watson is expected to step into Finch’s shoes with Smith and Warner already missing but there is also a likelihood of Australia recalling former skipper George Bailey into the squad.