Usman Khawaja, the Australian top-order batsman, has been included in the Rising Pune Supergiants squad for the remainder of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 campaign, head coach Stephen Fleming revealed on Thursday (April 28). The announcement comes on the heels of a finger injury to Faf du Plessis, that compounded Pune's woes, who were already dealt with the blow of Kevin Pietersen's ouster, owing to a calf tear earlier last week.
Since getting reinstated in the national side last summer, Khawaja has enjoyed a rather productive season, with prolonged success across formats. In just four games, the left-hander notched up scores of 109*, 62, 104 and 70 and averaged a scarcely-believable 172.5 as Sydney Thunder won their maiden Big Bash league title earlier this year. He was subsequently rewarded for his consistent performances with a World T20 berth, a tournament in which he ended as the top run-getter for Australia.
The 29-year-old, who went unsold in February's IPL player auction, now joins fellow Australians Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh and Adam Zampa in the Supergiants squad. Once integrated into the side, the stylish batsman, is likely to partner Ajinkya Rahane at the top of Pune's batting order.
With two wins from six, the MS Dhoni-led team currently occupies the sixth spot in the points table. They host league leaders Gujarat Lions in their next game, on Friday (April 29).