The 26-year-old is set to represent Pakistan in Twenty20 Internationals
Wrist-spinner Usman Qadir has admitted that abandoning his ambitions to represent Australia were not on purpose as his hopes of becoming an Australian citizen in time for next year’s T20 World Cup were slim, cricket.com.au, reported on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old is set to fulfill the wish of his late father – the legendary Pakistan leg-spinner Abdul Qadir, who passed away last month - by making his international debut for Pakistan, having returned to his native country earlier this year and last week earning a call-up for their T20I tour of Australia.
Usman said he found out about his selection from his overjoyed wife, who called him after seeing he had been picked on the news three days after she had given birth to their first daughter.
He had been in the process of applying for a permanent Australian visa, having represented Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers in all three formats last summer after impressing former state coach Justin Langer during a trial.
The leg-spinner also turned heads in last year’s Prime Minister’s XI match against South Africa.
He had expressed his wish to represent Australia at the 2020 T20 World Cup.
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But he played four games for Central Punjab in Pakistan’s domestic T20I competition earlier this month before Pakistan’s head coach-cum-chief selector Misbahul Haq picked him for three-match T20I series against Australia down under.
"My ambition was to play for Australia before. I said to my father I did not get any chances to play in Pakistan. I wanted to go to Australia and wanted to make a career over there," said Usman. "My father said, 'My wish is for you to play for Pakistan, for your own country. If you want to go there [Australia], you can – it’s your own decision. But my dream is for you to play for Pakistan.'"
"[Then] the PCB put my name in for the national T20 and selected me for Australia tour. Everyone said to me that I had made a U-turn – I didn't make a U-turn. I said before that I wanted to play for Australia but it's a big opportunity to play for your own country," he added.
Usman first made his mark in Australia during the 2012 Under-19 World Cup in Queensland.
While he only picked up four wickets for the tournament, it was enough to secure him a Premier Cricket stint with Adelaide Cricket Club in which he collected 41 wickets in 12 games.
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He returned home and was picked for the National Bank of Pakistan in the country's domestic competitions.
"They are very good people and when I got selected for the Pakistan team, they messaged me and congratulated me, and that's a good sign," he said. "I really learned a lot in Australia, playing in the Big Bash and in the (domestic) one-dayers. It's a good thing I've already played there.”
"Australian cricketers are really good… if you're a spinner, they attack you, they come really hard. If you have the basics, you can do well," he added.
The 26-year-old said he was looking forward to again seeing the now-Australia coach Langer.
"I don't know what the Australians are going to say to me," he said. "But he [Langer] is a very nice guy, very down to earth. Every time [I see him] he encourages me, and gives me good advice. I learned a lot from him."
"I’m a left-handed batsman as well so whenever I have had difficulties, I watch Justin Langer because he was a great player," he added.