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Lahore is as we all know a cricket mad city and has over the years produced some fantastic cricketers. The assembly line of talent from Lahore doesn't seem to be diminishing either with highly rated young batsmen Usman Salahuddin catching the eye of many.

by Saj Sadiq (22nd January 2011)

Lahore is as we all know a cricket mad city and has over the years produced some fantastic cricketers.

The assembly line of talent from Lahore doesn't seem to be diminishing either with highly rated young batsmen Usman Salahuddin catching the eye of many.

PakPassion recently caught up with Usman to find out more about him, his hopes for the future etc

Early years

My father (Salahuddin) was of course a first class cricketer who played first class cricket in the 70s and 80s. I would watch him play and became interested in cricket from a young age.

Club Cricket

I'm a product of the infamous Model Town cricket club who have produced the likes of Azhar Ali and Imran Farhat and Humayun Farhat.

Rise to First Class Cricket

I was spotted during the Lahore inter district competition. I scored 550 runs in 5 matches and wasn't dismissed at all in any innings in that competition in 2008/09 season. What happens is that generally the highest run scorers in the inter district competition get snapped up by one of the first class teams.

Role Models

It has to be Mohammad Yousuf in Pakistan. He's my favourite player, a middle order batsman like myself, who I base my batting on and will try to emulate. Outside Pakistan, it has to be the genius of Sachin Tendulkar, who is a fantastic role model and great cricketer.

Under 19 Tours

I debuted for the Under 19s in 2006 when India came to Pakistan. In 2007 I toured England with the Under 19 squad that included Mohammad Amir and Ahmed Shehzad. I featured in one test and 5 ODIs during that tour. I was the highest run scorer in the one day series for Pakistan. Then I played against Australia Under 19s in a home series and scored three half centuries and wasn't dismissed. Then I toured Sri Lanka with the Under 19s where I did well and then it was onto the Under 19 World Cup last year. In the World Cup quarter final I was man on of the match and where of course we lost in the final. I have a batting average of 47 for the Pakistan Under 19s.

Favourite Shot

I like my back foot shots, especially the pull shot, but I also like to drive the ball through the covers.

Future Improvements

The more I play, the more I learn. Day by day I'm learning new things and adding things to my batting. Nobody is a complete cricketer and cricket is all about learning and improving. I look at the example of Ponting in the Ashes recently, players go through good and bad patches and it's important as to how you gather yourself again and focus on your game after a slump in form. I feel I don't have any weak areas and can become the complete batsmen.

Domestic Cricket

I've had a really good domestic season in the Quaid E Azam Trophy for Lahore Shalimar and scored over 900 runs at an average of more than 77.

I faced some pretty good bowling attacks including KRL who have a very experienced attack and have bowlers like Irfan in their line up.
I made 142 against them and enjoyed the challenge. 

I thank Allah for giving me success and recognition this season. I prepared really well with my father for this season, put in a lot of hard work before the season started and thankfully it's paid off. You have to be mentally strong to play first class cricket in Pakistan and this season I felt I "grew up" and was mature and my understanding of the game improved. 

Preferred Format of Cricket

I think 4 day cricket is the true test of any cricketer. I enjoy playing Twenty20 and one day cricket, but 4 day cricket is my favourite format as it tests all the participants thoroughly.

The Future

At the moment I'm playing for Lahore Eagles in the one day competition and also there are some "A" tours coming up for Pakistan and I hope the selectors give me a chance on those tours. "A" tours definitely are a fantastic opportunity to catch the eye of the selectors and I hope that I can do that and go on and play for my country for many years.