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Tuesday Oct 22 2019

Out of nowhere: What prompted Usman Qadir’s selection for Australia tour?

KARACHI: 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.

Read also: Usman Qadir vows to carry on father’s legacy

However, this performance seemed enough for Usman to change Misbah’s heart.

“Usman has done well in T20s and has an experience of playing in Australia as well that’s why he has been picked,” the head coach said while announcing the squad for Australia.

One wonders if there are other elements too behind Usman’s selection other than his small stint in Australia that gave him advantage over other performers like Zahid Mehmood and Mohammad Mohsin.

Mohsin has been in superb form in the ongoing National T20 Cup. The 26-year old from Peshawar is now jointly the leading wicket taker with nine wickets in five matches at an average of 16.11 in the tournament.

Zahid has eight wickets in four matches in the ongoing T20 tournament at an average of 11.75.