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  1. #1
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    "If my chance comes I want to grab it with both hands" : Usman Salahuddin

    The recent announcements of retirement plans by Pakistan Test stalwarts Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have not come as a major surprise to followers of Pakistan cricket. The writing, as they say, has been on the wall for a good few months since the disappointing tours of New Zealand and Australia yielded no positive results.

    The imminent departures of Misbah and Younis from the Test scene does pose an important question as they have over the years, pretty much held together the Pakistan batting line-up in very difficult circumstances.

    The selection of Usman Salahuddin for the Test squad bound for the West Indies thus represents an important milestone. Not only is it important for the career development of the batsman but it also offers a great chance for the selectors to test out the talent of the batsman marked by many as a good future prospect for Pakistan.

    In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Usman Salahuddin spoke about his patient wait for another chance to represent Pakistan since his ODI debut in 2011, the golden opportunity to establish himself as a replacement for the retiring Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan and also praised the selectors for their efforts to pick top domestic performers.




    Usman’s selection for the upcoming Test series against the West Indies was a welcome surprise for the young player as it appeared that the selectors had finally taken note of his hard work at the domestic level as he remarked, “First of all, I am grateful to the Almighty that I have been given another opportunity to play for Pakistan and have been selected for the Test squad for the West Indies tour. It is indeed a great honour for me to be asked to play for my country. It is equally exciting to be in the same squad as such great players like Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan and I am sure this will be a great learning opportunity for me as well. I am looking forward to grabbing this opportunity with both hands and establishing myself in the team for good.”

    The now twenty-six-year-old made his debut for Pakistan in May 2011 in the ODI format but has been patiently biding his time since that day for another chance to play for his country.

    “It was a long wait to make a comeback in the national squad but I was never disheartened and kept on believing in my abilities. I worked hard with the belief that one day I will get another chance to represent Pakistan again. I have been performing consistently well in domestic cricket for the past few years and I was confident that it was just a matter of time before I was asked to represent Pakistan again.”

    It would have been easy for a talented batsman like Usman to wallow in self-pity at being ignored by the selectors, but instead he got busy to learn and improve his game with a view to getting noticed by the selectors as he stated that, “I worked hard in the intervening five years since my international debut. I played league cricket in England on seaming tracks, which gave me good exposure in foreign conditions. In the process, I also ironed out my problems against swing bowling which was great. With the experience of playing fast-bowlers in England, I found it much easier to play similar bowling in the domestic season in Pakistan and my performances are a reflection of that.”

    The temptation to change one’s game in the face of demoralizing exclusion from the Pakistan squad must have been a big one but Usman resisted. Instead, he put his faith in the same skills that had brought him thus far and this belief paid dividends as reflected in his domestic performances in the previous season.

    “I did not have to make too many changes to my batting but what I did have was the belief and confidence in my own abilities. What also separated this season from others was that all of my runs were against top quality sides featuring some outstanding players. My batting was appreciated by many including such distinguished players such as the Pakistan international, Mohammad Hafeez, who felt that I had improved a lot in my batting this season. In fact, I even single-handedly helped my team National Bank to a five-wicket win against Hafeez’s team (SNGPL) which is the kind of performance that gave me a lot of confidence. It was this particular performance where I was not out on ninety-one which set the tone for the rest of the season.”

    To walk into a Test batting line-up which is settled and has, by and large, performed very well in the past cannot be an easy task for any newcomer. Usman has waited patiently for this opportunity and he is clearly not worried about the possibility of a further wait to make a name for himself by playing for Pakistan.

    “I understand that the current Pakistan Test batting order, especially as far as the number three, four, five and six positions are concerned is pretty well established. It may not be easy to carve out a position for myself in such a situation but then I tell myself that I have waited five years for this opportunity so waiting a little more doesn’t bother me that much. What matters the most is that the Pakistan team wins its games which will make us all very proud. But, if and when I am given the chance based upon the needs of the team, I will put in more than a hundred percent effort to ensure that my team is victorious. I am not the least bothered about how long I have to wait for a chance to play as at this point, I am very pleased that I am part of the Test squad.”

    The losses of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan to the Pakistan batting line-up will indeed have an impact which will be felt for a while until suitable replacements are able to establish themselves but Usman is supremely confident that he can make a positive impression when given a chance as he remarked, “There is no doubt in anyone’s mind about the services and effort put in by our retiring greats Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan. For me, this is a golden opportunity and if given the chance to perform, my objective would be to play as best as I can so that I can fill the tremendous void that will be created when Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan leave Test cricket.”

    The history of Pakistan cricket is littered with names of batsmen who were introduced to the international level but then discarded after being given very few opportunities. This is not the best way to develop international level batsmen in Usman’s view and all he asks for is a decent run for him or any other batsman to establish himself.

    “My first objective is to prove to all that my selection is based purely upon my performances and this is not a fluke. But then in international cricket, it is not simply a matter of one or two games where a player should feel that he has to justify his selection. If my chance comes I want to grab it with both hands. At this level of the game, a player needs to be developed into the finished product. Just because a batsman has had one bad innings does not mean that he should be discarded. Any good player needs at least one or two series before one can judge their true worth to the team. One does not need to see a better example of this philosophy than in the case of Saeed Anwar who scored two ducks on his Test debut. How poor Pakistan cricket would have been, had he been discarded after just one Test?”

    The Pakistan selection committee under the leadership of the former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has broken new grounds in their efforts to bring in fresh talent based entirely on their domestic performances. This is a fact that a newcomer like Usman Salahuddin appreciates to the fullest as he explained, “I am very pleased with our selectors who have picked the squad based upon merit alone. They were true to their word about giving chances to the top domestic performers which is excellent. I am very thankful to the selection committee for giving me the opportunity after rating my domestic performance. This a great sign for our well-performing domestic players and augurs well for the future of Pakistan cricket.”


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  2. #2
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    Sounds like a smart man. Hope he gets at least a couple of matches to prove his worth in the Test format. Could be a like-for-like replacement of
    Misbah at #5.

  3. #3
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    To fill the boots of misbah and yk usman would have to play out of his skin and learn to play long innings. Bt im afraid that he hasnt got a domestic FC double hundred as yet , lets pray he does it in test cricket

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramez View Post
    To fill the boots of misbah and yk usman would have to play out of his skin and learn to play long innings. Bt im afraid that
    he hasnt got a domestic FC double hundred as yet
    , lets pray he does it in test cricket
    that is a very bad news..

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramez View Post
    To fill the boots of misbah and yk usman would have to play out of his skin and learn to play long innings. Bt im afraid that he hasnt got a domestic FC double hundred as yet , lets pray he does it in test cricket
    He was literally carrying his batting lineup this season. couple that with the kinds of wickets going around I wouldn't read into it that much. Not like Misbah ever got daddy hundreds.

    I just hope that he's a good player of spin. Some of the younger lot struggle against spin at times so whoever replaces YK and Misbah needs to be decent players of spin at the very least.

  6. #6
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    I believe he will cement his place this time. have high hopes on him.

  7. #7
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    Want to establish myself in Pakistan team for good: Usman Salahuddin

    Karachi [Pakistan], Apr.08 (ANI): Just days after earning a maiden call-up in the Test squad against West Indies, Pakistan middle-order batsman Usman Salahuddin has said that he is looking forward to grab this opportunity and establish himself in the team for good.

    The 26-year-old, who appeared in just two ODIs for Pakistan since his debut in 2011, spoke about the golden opportunity to establish himself as a replacement for the retiring Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan and also praised the national selectors for noticing the hard work that he had put in the domestic level.

    “First of all, I am grateful to the almighty that I have been given another opportunity to play for Pakistan and have been selected for the Test squad for the West Indies tour. It is indeed a great honour for me to be asked to play for my country. It is equally exciting to be in the same squad as such great players like Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan and I am sure this will be a great learning opportunity for me as well. I am looking forward to grabbing this opportunity with both hands and establishing myself in the team for good,” Pakpassion quoted Salahuddin as saying.

    Salahuddin was selected for the first time in the Test team after failing in the two one-day internationals on his side’s tour of West Indies in 2011.

    Reflecting on the same, the middle-order batsman admitted that he was never disappointed to be axed from the national squad because he had a belief on his abilities.

    “It was a long wait to make a comeback in the national squad but I was never disheartened and kept on believing in my abilities. I worked hard with the belief that one day I will get another chance to represent Pakistan again. I have been performing consistently well in domestic cricket for the past few years and I was confident that it was just a matter of time before I was asked to represent Pakistan again,” he said.

    Although it would have been easier for Salahuddin to wallow in self-pity after being ignored by the national selectors, he instead got busy to learn and improve his game with an aim to gain the national selectors’ attention.

    “I worked hard in the intervening five years since my international debut. I played league cricket in England on seaming tracks, which gave me good exposure in foreign conditions. In the process, I also ironed out my problems against swing bowling which was great. With the experience of playing fast-bowlers in England, I found it much easier to play similar bowling in the domestic season in Pakistan and my performances are a reflection of that,” he said.

    Talking about his objective in the upcoming Test series, Salahuddin said that he would try his level best to prove that his selection was entirely based on his performances. The middle-order added that he would also try to make the cricketing world realize that a good player needs at least one or two series before one can judge their true worth to the team.

    “My first objective is to prove to all that my selection is based purely upon my performances and this is not a fluke. But then in international cricket, it is not simply a matter of one or two games where a player should feel that he has to justify his selection. If my chance comes I want to grab it with both hands. At this level of the game, a player needs to be developed into the finished product. Just because a batsman has had one bad innings does not mean that he should be discarded. Any good player needs at least one or two series before one can judge their true worth to the team,” he explained.

    http://www.india.com/news/agencies/w...uddin-2008824/


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  8. #8
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    I hope they give him a proper chance and not mess him around like they did when he was called up previously.

    The lad needs a couple of series at least to find his feet and then we can see if he has what it takes.



  9. #9
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    his chance will never come... u have to be as good as shadab to be forced to give a chance...

    In t20s usman khan came back without any chance

    In odis zakir, zaman, asghar and fahim will be back without a chance to debut

    In tests Usman salahuddin , abbas will be back without a chance to debut...

    Pak and its seniority culture ... In india only sachin was looked as a cricket god.. but in pak sadly From MYK to UA to Shehzad are considered cricket greats and gods not by fans but by the player themselves ..

  10. #10
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    I think they should give him and Fawad a chance in Tests to replace Misbah and YK, having a batsman who has ironed his problems against swing bowling is something good to have.

  11. #11
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    He might not get a chance on current tour but thank God, oldies are leaving finally and players like Usman are in recognition to fill the spot. He has to keep himself fit and in form till the next test series.

  12. #12
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    Really need to see him in action sooner than later and with just one warmup game, chances are low and only a catastrophic batting failure will see him gain a place. Hope he can take some positives from this tour.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Really need to see him in action sooner than later and with just one warmup game, chances are low and only a catastrophic batting failure will see him gain a place. Hope he can take some positives from this tour.
    no chance for him in the warm up too... will be coming back w/o a chance i think just like zaman, zakir, fahim and asghar in ODIs...

  14. #14
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    Usman and Fawad Alam to me are great candidates for YK/Misbah type roles in the future


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Usman and
    Fawad Alam
    to me are great candidates for YK/Misbah type roles in the future
    His avg is sweet but Haris and Umar Amin will also be in contention for their added bowling option and score faster than fawad...These days even in Tests we need players who can play faster upto a RR of 4.00

  16. #16
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    Really no point having him on the tour without a fair chance. Pakistan will need to test him out at some point.


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Really no point having him on the tour without a fair chance. Pakistan will need to test him out at some point.
    As he is a middle order batsman, the only one he can replace is Asad Shafiq and that's not going to happen because he is too senior to be dropped, so it means if we want to play him, we will have to move to every batsman up the order.

  18. #18
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    It wouldn't surprise me if the selectors drop him after this series despite him not playing a match



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    It wouldn't surprise me if the selectors drop him after this series despite him not playing a match
    That's what they did in ODI squad

  20. #20
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    Very good chance of Usman Salahuddin making his debut in next Test given what is happening now!


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