Friday, June 02, 2023
WORCESTER: Pakistan's leg spin all-rounder Usama Mir says that playing county cricket was a lifelong dream which came true when he signed for Worcestershire Rapids in the T20 Blast tournament.
Usama, 27, impressed everyone with his all-round performance during his short stay.
He was signed by Worcestershire Rapids for the initial three matches of the ongoing T20 Blast tournament as a replacement for their full-season signing Kiwi player Mitchell Santner who was unavailable due to his commitments with IPL franchise and eventual winners Chennai Super Kings.
Although he had experience playing cricket in English conditions only at club levels in league cricket, this was the first time he was playing for a county cricket club in any format.
Speaking exclusively to Geo News about his first-ever experience of competitive cricket with Worcestershire county cricket club, Usama said that all he wanted was to play his best game and produce good results. He’s extremely happy with his performance.
“When I was young and used to hear and read about England’s county cricket that how this cricket has a very different sort of vibe from cricket in other countries so I used to dream about playing in county cricket which has come true now. I wanted to play my best game that’s what I did and the performance was really good”.
Mir who’s already in England and was playing Sunday league cricket for Colwyn Bay was drafted in the Rapids’ squad at the very last moments before their campaign in T20 Blast began against Nottinghamshire Steelbacks on Wednesday 24th May.
He had a very memorable outing against Steelbacks in his debut game where first he smashed 20 runs off just 7 balls and later bamboozled their batting lineups with his leg spin bowling claiming 3 wickets for just 21 runs in 4 overs. Rapids won the match by 15 runs and Usama who played a major role in their victory instantly became the new poster boy for them.
“Whether it’s bowling or batting wherever I get a chance I always tried my level best to do well for the team and produce a winning performance. Thanks to Allah that’s what I did here too and not only bowled well but also batted.”
His brilliant run of performance didn’t d with the first game. In the following match for Rapids against visiting Yorkshire Vikings Usama despite going wicketless produced another tight spell of bowling. In 4 overs he only gave 24 runs. Worcestershire won that match in a last-over thriller.
On a broth and sunny bank holiday, Monday informs of a packed stadium, Usama played his last game for the Rapids against the Foxes and again was at his mischievous best. He smashed unbeaten 32 runs on just 15 balls including 2 sixes and 3 fours. Chasing 184 to win Leicestershire Foxes could only manage 150 and last the match by 34 runs. With the ball, Usama picked up 2 wickets while conceding 33 runs in 4 overs.
As he left the field he received a standing ovation from more than five thousand spectators present at New Road.
“Since I had the contract with the club for only the first three matches so all I tried was to leave such a mark with my performance which later make the club think that they should have signed him for the entire season,” Usama told Geo News.
“The whole Worcestershire Rapids Sqaud was happy with my performance, the atmosphere was brilliant and I had the backing of the team. For not even an instant it crossed my mind that I’m paying with them for the first time. It always felt like I’ve been playing for Worcestershire CCc for ages.
“The way I was backed up band given the confidence by the team I will definitely miss them. Hopefully, in future, I will get another chance to play for Worcestershire CCC."
Former Pakistan captain Azhar Ali, who recently directed from international cricket and currently playing for Worcestershire CCC, is also seen sitting in the dugouts of Rapids working with young batters and has also been a great help and inspiration for young Usama Mir. They both also play for Central Punjab in Pakistan’s domestic circuit. Usman said he feels lucky to play along with Azhar Ali and learn from a legendary player like him.
“I’m lucky when I joined Worcestershire, Azhar Bhai was already playing with them. He already had a lot of experience of playing in county cricket, taught me about the game’s tactics and provided me with a lot of knowledge and guidance about what type of cricket I need to play here”.
Usama also had a very cordial relationship with Worcestershire’s coach Kadeer Ali who’s the brother of English cricketer Moeen Ali and also with cricketer Kashif Ali with whom he played in the Kashmir Player League.
“I developed good chemistry with coach Kadeer Ali and fellow player Kashif Ali they really supported me well. So when you have such brilliant support you are bound to produce good results”.
Usama Mir who previously played for Pakistan Super League franchise Karachi Kings from 2016-2020 joined Multan Sultans.
In recent years Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans have emerged as the two most successful franchises in the PSL. While Lahore Qalandars are the winners of the last two seasons Multan Sultans were the runners-ups on both occasions and prior to that also champions of PSL. Playing for Sultans in the 11 matches in the tournament including the final Usama Mir picked up 14 wickets conceding 316 runs in the total of 39 overs he bowled in the competition.
Speaking about his experience of playing for Sultans Usama termed it “brilliant”. He told Geo that in his opinion the successes of Multan Sultans are due to the amazing environment of their dressing room.
“It was a new franchise for me but felt just like a family. The way our manager and COO Haider Azhar supported me which was also backed up by coaches Andy Flower and Abdul Rehman as well as captain Rizwan and other senior players in the Sqaud was amazing. In my opinion, the environment of Sultans dressing room is the main reason of there such good performances”.
The 27-year-old cricketer who made his international debut earlier this year against New Zealand has so far played six ODIs all against the same team but is optimistic about his inclusion into the world up squad which will be held in October this year. Usama told Geo that his job is to play well whenever he gets an opportunity to perform.
“All I can do is to give my hundred per cent in whichever format I get a chance to play cricket wherever in the world Whether I’m selected for the squad or not it all depends on the selection committee’s choice and Allah’s decision”.