Usman Qadir, the son of former Pakistan legspinner Abdul Qadir, may migrate to Australia or South Africa to pursue his cricket career. The 22-year old has been weighing his options considering the last time he played in the Pakistan domestic circuit was in 2014.
Usman spent the last summer playing club cricket in Cape Town. Prior to that, he had won a call-up from South Australia in 2013 to play in the interstate second XI competition. His stint with the Redbacks, however, was cut short when he met with a car accident and had to return home.
Usman, also a legspinner, has played two Under-19 World Cups for Pakistan and became a centrally contracted player in 2010. In 2012, he took a five-wicket haul against Sri Lanka Under-23s in the ACC Emerging Players tournament in Singapore and was poised to make the senior team for a limited-overs tour of West Indies in 2013, but wasn’t picked.
Lack of opportunities in the first-class circuit as well drove Usman into thinking about life outside Pakistan. Although he played eight games for National Bank of Pakistan in his debut season in 2013, he got to bowl only 84 overs. He was not used at all in his final four-day match, against Port Qasim Authority in December 2014 and hasn’t played a domestic game since.
Another factor that has contributed to Usman’s troubles is a perception of nepotism. His father Abdul is considered one of the finest legspinners in the history of cricket. Rather than that being a benefit, Usman felt persecuted by those who believed he was handed a place in the XI because of his father.
“I want to play cricket and I have come through the ranks because of my own ability,” said Usman. “But there is always a sense of skepticism about my inclusion in a team. I don’t want to spoil my passion [for the game]. So I think I’d rather play my cricket where I can focus only on my cricket rather than unnecessary criticism.”
Abdul, who has been a vocal critic of the Pakistan cricket board, reiterated that he has never sought out a selector to help his son’s chances.
“I, as a father and a former cricketer, have lost trust in our system to give a fair chance to our players to prove themselves,” he said. “I don’t want to see my other son to go down and suffer due to this system which doesn’t respect their legends. I never went to any selector on behalf of my son and never will. My other sons were also capable enough to represent Pakistan but they didn’t grow but Usman is very much capable and I know he has potential for top-level cricket.
“I have allowed Usman to decide about his future. I did hold him back from migrating to Australia in 2013, and asked him to stay in Pakistan. But now after his being ignored for more than three years, I don’t think it’s fair for me to stop him anymore.”
Usman will have to live in South Africa or Australia for four years before he becomes eligible to play international cricket for them. However, he can play franchise cricket in South Africa and grade cricket in Australia as an overseas player.
“He has shown some interest [in representing Australia] but I also know he’s of significant interest in his home system,” Jamie Cox, who had been the director of cricket with South Australia, said in 2013. ”We’re pretty much tip-toeing our way through our options from here.
”We’ve left the conversation very open but we’ve made it clear to him that if he’s going to come back here again we’re going to want more of a commitment,” Cox said. ”He hasn’t come out and said ‘if you can do this and that, then I’m yours’. I think he’s still very much considering it from what I can gather but he’s also very much in [Pakistan’s] eyes as well.
”With [Usman] it’s a very different story to the Fawad [Ahmed] case. But we’ve spoken to CA about it and followed their progress on Fawad pretty closely. He’s a young fellow with obviously good genetics and talent who just happened to play a year of club cricket here and did well. We’ve sort of left it in Ussy’s hands.”