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Usman Khawaja signs with Derbyshire

AFP
Jan 21, 2011 at 08:59am IST

Melbourne: Promising Australian batsman Usman Khawaja will hone his skills with Derbyshire in the upcoming English domestic season after signing a deal with the county side.

The Pakistan-born Khawaja became the first Muslim to play Test cricket for Australia when he made his debut this month in the fifth Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Khawaja, who boasts six first-class centuries on an average of a fraction over 50, made 37 and 21 in Sydney, showing impressive poise under pressure in a match Australia lost by an innings.

Usman Khawaja signs with Derbyshire

He replaces prolific Victorian opening batsman Chris Rogers, who has switched to Middlesex.

With Australia not playing any Tests until the tour of Sri Lanka in August and Khawaja not part of the limited-overs squads, the left-hander will be able to play the first half of the county season.

He has signed with Derbyshire for eight county matches, six limited-overs games and the all 16 matches of their Twenty20 campaign.

He replaces prolific Victorian opening batsman Chris Rogers, who has switched to Middlesex.

Derbyshire's head of cricket John Morris was delighted to secure the 24-year-old.

"Usman is an extremely talented batsman whose prolific record in Sheffield Shield cricket has fired him into the thoughts of the Australian selectors," Morris said.

"Although he made his debut in the final Test of the Ashes series, Usman has been part of the Australia set-up for several months and was part of the touring squad that visited the County Ground last season.

"Successful stints in county cricket have played an integral part in the development of many successful Australian cricketers and I'm sure Usman will benefit hugely from this experience."

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