Sydney: Australian state side New South Wales lost two more top players to a rival on Friday, with former Test players Usman Khawaja and Nathan Hauritz joining reigning Sheffield Shield champions Queensland.
Queensland said they had signed the players on two-year deals a day after it was announced that former Test opening batsman Phillip Hughes had left NSW for South Australia. Khawaja and Hauritz agreed terms after each approached Queensland about the opportunity to continue their careers with the Bulls, Queensland Cricket said.
Offspinner Hauritz will start pre-season training with Queensland next week while Khawaja, 25, is playing for Derbyshire in England and is expected to join his new team-mates in September. Khawaja and Hauritz, along with Hughes, all missed out on central contracts with Cricket Australia last week.
Pakistan-born Khawaja, a left-handed top order batsman who has played six Tests for Australia, said: "The decision to join Queensland has been the toughest decision of my career, particularly because I had to leave my home, my mates, my family."
"I'm extremely excited about joining Queensland and taking my cricket to the next level. I have a big role and it's a perfect environment for me to grow as a player and a person."
Bulls coach Darren Lehmann said Hauritz, 30, who has taken 63 Test wickets in his 17 appearances for Australia, would improve the Bulls' bowling options.
"He's a world-class offspinner, which fits in with how we are structuring our squad, and I am sure he is ready to demonstrate those skills for us and again reach the heights he has previously achieved," Lehmann said.