The predicament faced by Usman Qadir in cricket is extremely odd, and what he did wasn’t exactly a u-turn, but an opportunity that anyone would have taken with open arms; an opportunity that he never saw coming, backed on a dream that was unfulfilled, and an ambition that was wavering in desperation.
Less than a year ago, Usman Qadir publicly expressed his desire to play for Australia, due to the lack of opportunity back home. He then tried the unthinkable and moved to Australia in an audacious attempt to renew his career.
Usman Qadir has the burden of being the son of the leg-spin great of Pakistan cricket who also inspired the likes of arguably the greatest spinner, Shane Warne, must have taken its toll. Also, his legendary father, Abdul Qadir, strictly abided by the concept of merit, so nepotism wasn’t really an option.
So, a young Usman moved down under, hoping that he will regain his confidence, but less than a year after Usman turning his back on Pakistan, he had been called up for their new-look T20 squad vs Australia, ironic much? He accepted, but the media and public called it the u-turn of the century.
Usman’s career was actually in shambles, and he knew that very well. His unconvincing entrance at the Big Bash, followed by sub-par performances for Western Australia was not going to get him what he wanted.
Along with those reasons, Usman was also allegedly busted in Western Australia for speeding and, therefore, he was unsuccessful in his drive, pun intended, to fast-track Australian citizenship like Fawad Ahmed, another Pakistani who moved to Australia, but for different reasons. Already begging for a chance, he probably made the wisest decision in his career to accept the call up to the Pakistan squad.
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Was the selection justified though? My humble opinion - absolutely not. All you have to do is look at Qadir’s domestic record, and you would say he should be the last person to be picked by any team. There is no way that we can measure talent, but performances do echo the capacity that one has to fulfil the talent. If Qadir is talented, he hasn’t shown that talent in his bowling, not yet anyway.
So why was he selected then? I have alternative theories. First, the PCB might have wanted to honour the passing of Abdul Qadir, and the least they could do is give his son a chance - a chance that he may or may not deserve.
Second, they actually do want to test the talent that Justin Langer, the current Australian cricket team head coach, saw in an energetic Usman Qadir, which, in turn, landed him his brief stints in the land down under.
It’s not impossible though, many players have outshone at the international stage - Marcus Trescothick, Inzamam ul Haq, Imam ul Haq are just a few names that fit the same story.
Anyway, Pakistan did not play Qadir in any of the games, especially the 3rd T20I, where the likes of Muhammad Musa and Khushdil Shah were handed their debuts. Should they have at least tested the ambitious leg spinner? The question remains, can the 26-year-old still turn his career around?