Usman Khawaja parts ways with Sydney Thunder citing family reasons

Usman Khawaja parts ways with Sydney Thunder citing family reasons

Khawaja is the leading run-getter of the franchise in BBL with 1818 runs in 59 games.

Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Usman Khawaja, who started his Big Bash League career with the Sydney Thunder in 2011, has now decided to move on from the franchise due to family reasons. The left-hander has scored the most runs for the franchise with 1818 runs in 59 fixtures in the last decade and his stint in BBL 2016 will always be remembered as he smacked 345 runs in four games to hand his franchise a title.

Khawaja recently had reentered the Australian playing XI after scoring twin centuries on his comeback game against England in the Ashes 2021-22 and is now part of the Pakistan tour as well. With Travis Head returning to the playing XI at number five, Australia had no options other than getting Khawaja at the top. However, it will be interesting to see if the 35-year-old does open the batting in Pakistan alongside David Warner.

It’s the toughest call I’ve made as a cricketer: Usman Khawaja

Khawaja said wants to stay close to his hometown of Brisbane with the impending arrival of his second child with his wife Rachel which in turn had reflected his decision. The veteran batter explained the emotions behind leaving the franchise that he has played for more than a decade and noted that he will always care about the club even if he has left now.

“I hate talking about the decision I’ve made… it’s the toughest call I’ve made as a cricketer because Sydney Thunder, the players, the coaching and support staff, and the club’s supporters mean so much to me,” Khawaja said in a statement.

“However, it is for family reasons, and while I’m leaving, people who know me realise a big part of my heart will always remain with Thunder. I don’t want people to think I’ve cut my ties with Sydney Thunder because I’ll always care about the club, the players, the entire organisation.”

Khawaja added that he has seen the franchise from the beginning and stressed his contributions in taking the side forward. He has played 46 Tests, 40 ODIs and 9 T20I so far for Australia, scoring more than 4600 runs across formats.

“A part of that is because I believe I helped shape Thunder from the start. In many ways Sydney Thunder is, to me, like a baby I’ve watched grow and develop,” he added.