Khawaja to replace injured Ponting

Khawaja to replace injured Ponting

Ponting had undertaken an x-ray after Australia's defeat in the fourth Test in Melbourne with results indicating that his fracture had moved over the course of the match and would need immediate treatment, the team said earlier in a statement.

“I'm devastated to tell you the truth, it was the news I was dreading,” Ponting told reporters at Sydney airport. “During the game I didn't think I'd done too much more to it.”

Ponting broke the little finger on his left hand attempting a catch during the third Test in Perth, but played under some discomfort in the next match in Melbourne, which England won to retain the Ashes and take a 2-1 lead into the final match.

Vice captain Michael Clarke is expected to lead the side in Sydney with uncapped Usman Khawaja, a Pakistan-born opening batsman who plays for New South Wales, likely to take Ponting's spot at number three.

“I'm not really here to fill Ricky Ponting's shoes, I'm there to go out and do as well as possible and put my team in the best place possible and that means score runs,” Khawaja, the free-scoring, fast-quipping, guitar-playing, blog-savvy, told reporters.

“Other than that, there's not really much more that I can do than just enjoy my cricket. To replace 12,000 runs, that's a big feat and I still haven't scored any so I'd better go out and score my first one first.”

“Ricky's a legendary cricketer and a legend of a bloke ... he's the kind of guy, if he told me to jump off a bridge, I probably would,” left-hander Khawaja, who is normally an opener, added.

“Me taking over Ricky's place? I highly doubt that. I'm just happy to get the opportunity while he's unfortunately injured and hopefully we can get out there and level the series.”

Born in Pakistan to a cricket-enthusiast father who subsequently took his family to Australia, Khawaja has been accumulating runs since making his debut for New South Wales two years ago and boasts a first class average of 51.7.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox