Sydney Thunder has extended the contract of opening batsman Usman Khawaja, keeping the 30-year old at the club until the end of BBL|09.
Khawaja has played 21-matches for the club and is the only remaining member of Thunder’s initial squad from BBL|01.
The left-hand batsman has scored 819-runs for the club at an average of 51.18, including scoring two unbeaten centuries during Sydney Thunder’s championship winning season in BBL|05.
“I’ve spent a lot of years at Thunder and its very close to my heart, I love going back there,” said Khawaja.
“I’ve been here since the first game and always enjoyed it, especially the last few years. The guys are good every time I go back and its very fun, very chilled out and they’re all good people. When you put that together it makes for good cricket.
“I love playing with Watto, I’ve played with him a lot over the years and really enjoyed it. We both go about our cricket in a very similar way.
“I’m just enjoying my cricket, whether its playing Grade, for Queensland, Thunder or Australia. It would be nice to come back and get some wins and hopefully win another trophy.”
Khawaja credits the support of his family as a huge influence on his career.
“It was a very easy decision, I love coming back to Sydney and seeing my parents and friends. They’ve been there since the start,” Khawaja said.
“My nephew is a die hard Thunder fan. Every time he sees pink he blows up, he just loves the green team.
“My Mum, Dad and Brothers - I love their support, they love the BBL and the atmosphere of the games, just like everyone does.”
Khawaja has made 51 international appearances across all formats scoring 2,438 runs for Australia.
Sydney Thunder Director of Cricket Michael Hussey is pleased to have been able to retain the services of Usman Khawaja.
“Usman’s been at the club since its formation, he’s obviously a classy player and a real leader in the team,” said Sydney Thunder Director of Cricket Michael Hussey.
“It’s always a balancing act seeing how much he’ll be around but we’ve seen how much impact he can have playing a limited number of games. I’m absolutely delighted that he’s committed his future to the club.”
Sydney Thunder General Manager Lee Germon praised Khawaja for his attitude on and off the field.
"I am thrilled that Usman has committed to Thunder for three years," said Sydney Thunder General Manager Lee Germon.
"He brings leadership, experience and quality. He epitomises the values of the Thunder Nation."
Sydney Thunder open their KFC Big Bash League campaign against the Sydney Sixers at Spotless Stadium on 19 December (7.40pm start).
BBL|07 Squad: Shane Watson (c), Aiden Blizzard, Pat Cummins, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Jay Lenton, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell McClenaghan, Clint McKay, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Gurinder Sandhu.
ACT & Regional NSW Rookie: Blake Macdonald
Director of Cricket: Michael Hussey
Head Coach: Paddy Upton
Assistant Coaches: Shawn Bradstreet and Beau Casson