Pakistan team’s chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq on Tuesday decided to throw a spanner in the proceedings and chose a completely revamped T20I team for the upcoming tour to Australia.
There were many surprises in the team with many of the young pace sensations being given a chance and return of Mohammad Irfan into the fold.
However, nothing surprised the Pakistan fans and left them scratching their heads were the selection of Usman Qadir, leg spinner and son of late Abdul Qadir, who plies his trade in Australia and has appeared in the Big Bash League without much success.
Many cricket experts and followers have expressed surprise over the inclusion of Usman Qadir in Pakistan’s squad out of nowhere as the bowler looked nowhere in contention.
Even head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq was unaware of his cricketing existence in country till a few weeks ago.
When Misbah, after the series loss against Sri Lanka, stated that team does not have much to back up Shadab Khan, a journalist in press conference suggested Usman Qadir.
“Where is he playing these days?” Misbah has asked at that time in Lahore.
And, Misbah’s ignorance about Usman was justified as well, since the bowler had not played any domestic cricket in Pakistan since 2014-15. He only returned to competitive cricket in last season in Australia. However, his stats in Big Bash League were not impressive as he took just six wickets in seven games at an average of 33.83.
Even in the ongoing National T20, Usman has taken four wickets in three games at an average of 20.50. However, this performance seemed enough for Usman to change Misbah’s heart.
Babar Azam is a good friend with Usman Qadir and the fans joined the two facts and alleged that this was the reason why Qadir was chosen out of the blue.
Misbah had to explain the rationale behind Usman’s selection after receiving flak from all corners on social media, with some former Pakistani cricketers also pointing out this.
“Usman Qadir is playing and in T20, there is a spark in his bowling. He has some experience of playing in Australia in the BBL. All the white-ball cricket he’s played, he has some zip in his bowling.
He has an advantage due to height and he has variations, a good flipper, googly, leg-spin is also good. Considering that we’re facing an issue with our wrist-spin back-up and his experience in Australia, we picked him in the team and we’re also keeping the T20 World Cup in Australia in mind,” Misbah said.
Responding on his inclusion in the national team, The wrist spinner says he is proud to make into the national squad.
“I am really happy at my inclusion in the national team. I have good experience of Australian pitches and conditions. I would try my best to live-up to the expectations of the head coach and selectors,” said Qadir while talking to PCB.
The son of cricketing world’s miraculous leg-spinner (late) Abdul Qadir says that he believes being the ‘custodian’ of googly, a delivery developed by his legendary father.
“My father re-invented the googly and I feel that I am its custodian, I learned a lot from him and now is the time to deliver, when I left for Australia my father asked me to give it my all to don Pakistan colours and I am proud that I have made it to the national squad,” said Usman.
Talking about the upcoming tour to Australia, Qadir said that he got the arsenal to disturb the strong Australian batting line boosting the likes of David Warner and Steve Smith.
“Leg-spinner, googly and flipper are my main weapons, I am confident that I can trouble the batsmen on Australian pitches with these three deliveries,” he said.
Many new faces would be making their debut for Pakistan, including fast bowling duo of Mohammad Musa and Naseem Shah, alongside uncapped middle-order batsman Khushdil Shah.