Cricket Australia Items/news/2012/6/29/queensland-lure-blues-duo-north

Khawaja, Hauritz abandon Blues

UPDATED 12 February, 2013 3:57PM AEST | by Omnisport

Top-order batsman Usman Khawaja and spinner Nathan Hauritz, both former international players, have signed with Queensland for the next two summers.

Khawaja, who has played six Tests for Australia - the last of them against New Zealand late last year, approached the Bulls about a move north as he strives to earn a recall to the international arena.

"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, and my clubs of Cricket NSW and Randwick-Petersham," Khawaja said.

"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.

While Khawaja is excited about the future with Queensland under coach Darren Lehmann and chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns, Hauritz will return home to where it all began.

"I left Queensland looking for opportunity and gained that with NSW, and for that, I am eternally grateful," Hauritz said.

"I was able to realise my dream of playing for Australia and thoroughly enjoyed playing cricket with NSW and with Randwick-Petersham.

"The chance to work with 'Boof' (Lehmann) and get back to playing with the guys I grew up was very attractive and the fact I enjoyed my time with the Brisbane Heat last season reinforced that it was the right way to go.

"I still believe I can play for Australia and I'm confident the way the Bulls play and the group they have will help me with that goal."

Lehmann is thrilled to lure both Khawaja and Hauritz to the Gabba as both look to apply pressure on national selectors this summer.

"The easy decision for Usman would have been to stay where he was, but to his credit, he got in touch with us to see whether there was an opportunity with the Bulls to take his game to a new level, and for that stance, I congratulate him," Lehmann said.

"It was a mature cricket decision, based around joining a successful group and I'm very excited about him coming into our culture, developing his skills and growing as a player.

"I am certain he will be super keen to get here and throw himself into some hard work when his English commitments (with Derbyshire) are done."

Lehmann added: "Queensland is always happy to have one of our own come home and 'Horry' (Hauritz) is a great example of that."

"He's a world-class off spinner, 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.

"He showed me with the Heat that he is a calm, mature cricketer and we're confident he will work beautifully with the Bulls group."

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 29 June, 2012 12:07PM AEST

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