Usman Khawaja faces an uncertain and uncomfortable period on the sidelines after scans on his left knee revealed a meniscal tear. The left-handed batsman sustained the injury during a throwing drill on Thursday (October 18) ahead of the third day’s play in the Abu Dhabi Test against Pakistan.
Although Khawaja hasn’t re-torn his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), it is likely that he will need to undergo a surgical procedure which will rule him out at least for the start of the four-Test home series against India. Australia captain Tim Paine confirmed that Khawaja, who sat the entire of the third day’s play in Abu Dhabi, is unlikely to bat in Australia’s fourth-innings chase of 491.
However, even if Australia decide to use Khawaja if an opportunity to save/win the Test arises, the time off the field will prevent him from coming in higher than No.7 during the first two hours of the innings.
Khawaja has previously had problems with his left knee, tearing the ACL during the Big Bash League of 2014. That injury at the Sydney Thunder training session saw him ruled out of competitive action for seven months.
This setback is a big blow to Australia, who are already without the suspended batting trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, given Khawaja’s fine run of form. In Dubai, he reeled off scores of 85 and 141 as Australia fought back to force an unlikely draw against Pakistan.
There are concerns in the bowling camp too with fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins only beginning to return from their injuries. Mitchell Starc has continuously remained under an injury cloud during the ongoing tour, complaining of tightness in his hamstring.
Australia finish off their Asian assignment with T20’s against UAE and Pakistan before returning home for the start of the home season. The first of four Tests against India begins in Adelaide on December 6, prior to which they will host South Africa for a short limited-overs series.
Meanwhile, Pakistan will be without regular captain Sarfraz Ahmed on Day 4 of with Asad Shafiq deputising for him and Mohammad Rizwan keeping wickets. The Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed that Sarfraz left to consult a doctor after copping a blow under his left ear while ducking under a Peter Siddle delivery on Day 3.
Sarfraz , who was on 32 then, continued batting after a some immediate treatment and was the second-last man out for 81.