Usman Khawaja has admitted he "might be divorced" if he was to play in the BBL semi-final on Thursday night after choosing to prioritise family time ahead of Australia's tour of India. Khawaja was the star of the show once again as the Brisbane Heat cruised past the Melbourne Renegades on Sunday night to advance to the semi-final against the Sydney Sixers.
The Aussie Test opener blasted 59 from 43 balls as the Heat chased down the Renegades' total of 5-162 with seven balls to spare, knocking the Melbourne side out of the finals. Khawaja's knock made him the highest run-scorer in BBL finals history, moving him past Moises Henriques for the time being.
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But in a major blow for the Heat, they will be without Khawaja's services for the clash against the Sixers because the match will come after Australia's Test squad flies out to India. Heat teammates Marnus Labuchagne, Matt Renshaw and Mitchell Swepson will also miss the game, as will Sixers stars Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon.
“All me, Marnus, Renners tried to do was lift the guys and give them new energy,” Khawaja said after Sunday night's win. “I still think we’ve got a lot of good depth - I really didn’t score too many runs until the last couple of games.
“Renners had one good innings – but we didn’t really do much, it was the bottom guys getting us out of trouble. I’m sure the guys coming in will do well. Fingers crossed we keep riding this momentum.”
When it was put to Khawaja on the Fox Sports coverage that he should 'lose' his passport and play against the Sixers, he replied: “I think I might be divorced if I do that.
“I think I need to spend some time with my family. I’m going to miss my girls, all three of them. I’m going be away about six weeks. I’m looking forward to spending the next two or three days with them before we jet off.”
Usman Khawaja's family dilemma before India tour
Speaking before Sunday night's game, Khawaja said he wasn't sure if he wanted to play or spend some quality time with his family. He ultimately decided to play, causing a jam-packed schedule before he flies to India that includes attending the Cricket Australia awards in Sydney on Monday night.
"We're obviously going away for six-and-a-half weeks, my family is coming over for the AB Medal that's happening on the 30th. There's a lot happening right now," he said.
"I wanted to just win this game and then I'll cross that bridge and figure out what I want to do. I'll have to talk to coach about it first and see what he can do."
Labuschagne made 23 on Sunday night before Renshaw (27 from 13 balls) and Sam Hain (eight not out) guided Brisbane home and into the semi-final. Brisbane Heat captain Jimmy Pearson said Khawaja, Labuschagne and Renshaw would be "sadly missed".
“Unfortunately there’s bigger fish to fry in that India series," he added. “Good to see Steve Smith getting on the plane and not playing that game.
"(We’ve) got some big shoes to fill. We’ve got a couple of guys who are going to have to step up and take their opportunity in a final. We’ll have to get our heads together and regroup.”
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