Khawaja, Burns to play Pakistan T20 comp

·2-min read

Usman Khawaja will travel to Karachi in June and take part in the rescheduled Pakistan Super League, having been snapped up in the competition's 'replacement draft'.

Khawaja and fellow Australians Joe Burns, James Faulkner and Callum Ferguson were recruited for the second phase of the Twenty20 competition.

The sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was halted earlier this year, when Australian legspinner Fawad Ahmed was among several players to contract COVID-19.

Pakistan's government is reportedly considering a nation-wide lockdown because of growing coronavirus cases.

But PSL organisers are currently pushing on with plans for the season's remaining 20 matches to be played at Karachi's National Stadium between June 1-20.

England's domestic season is also underway, with Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head set to start their county stints soon.

Khawaja, who was born in Islamabad then shifted to Australia at age five, feared a clash between Australia's domestic season and the PSL meant he would never play in his country of birth.

"I'd love to go over there and play," he told cricket.com.au earlier this month.

"To go home to where it all began for myself, my family.

"I love cricket returning to that region, too. Because I think they're doing some really, really good stuff over there; doing some really hard work to get people to come over.

"I'd love to see an Australian team tour to Pakistan in the not too distant future ... but I guess it needs a bit of buy-in from the players too."

Australia have not toured Pakistan since 1998, but there is growing hope they will travel to the country for a multi-format series in early 2022.

England are slated to end their own 16-year absence in Pakistan, having signed up for a tour in October that will precede the T20 World Cup.

International sides have slowly but surely returned to Pakistan in recent years, having initially refused to do so in the aftermath of an attack by gunmen on Sri Lanka's team bus in 2009.

Shane Watson headlines the list of Australians to have travelled to Pakistan for the PSL, while Tim Paine, George Bailey and Ben Cutting toured the country as part of a World XI in 2017.

Cricket Australia and the Pakistan Cricket Board were in talks for a 2019 tour to be staged, at least partly, in Pakistan but they amounted to nothing.