Usama Mir looking to reap rewards of decade-long struggle

KARACHI: Kane Williamson was stunned by many bowlers, let alone on his debut. Even fewer produce a delivery that beats the legendary New Zealand batsman to hit the top of the off-stump. In January, Osama Mir did both.

Just 13 balls into his international career, the lanky Osama got into his unique bowling action and bowled a good length as Williamson – a veteran of more than 150 one-day internationals – seemed to find his crease. I stuck around, saw the ball pop out to see it. The castle itself

Before turning back to walk to the pavilion here at the National Stadium, Williamson nodded in appreciation to his poacher.

This delivery was quite a fine display of leg spin bowling – an art, a skill that requires years of honing – and Usama did exactly that.

The 27-year-old has been in and around Pakistan’s domestic circuit for the past 10 years but never really made a mark until last season, in which he finished as the highest wicket-taker in the Pakistan Cup. – National 50-. More than a tournament.

Taking 28 wickets at an impressive average of 17.96 earned Usama his first call-up to the Pakistan camp for the three-match ODI series against the touring New Zealand team. Including Williamson’s scalp, the Sialkot-born spinner took four wickets in the series and featured in all three matches.

Osama told Dawn on his debut in Pakistan that it was like a dream come true. “I was the highest wicket-taker in the national one-day cup (Pakistan Cup), but I didn’t expect [to be selected for Pakistan].

“I was over the moon when I saw my name in the team. My first wicket was Kane Williamson one of the best batsmen in the world, you can’t ask for more.

Faced with oblivion two years ago, Usama could not even imagine playing for Pakistan as he was not selected for the 2021-22 domestic season. Before making his mark in first-class cricket, things changed for the right-armer while training at the High Performance Center of HBL Pakistan Super League franchise Lahore Qalandars.

“I have been playing cricket in PSL, domestic cricket and foreign T20 leagues for a few years but I was not selected for the last domestic season (2021-22),” he said. I was invited to train at Lahore Qalandars High Performance Center and they worked hard on me and when I was selected for domestic red ball cricket I played long spells which made me a different bowler.

In the last edition of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy – Pakistan’s premier first-class tournament – Usama took 10 wickets in four matches, including five wickets, before proving his mettle in the Pakistan Cup.

Osama noted that bowling with the red ball made him a more lethal bowler.

“When you bowl with the red ball, you get to learn a lot of new, different things and so do I,” he said. “In the past, I used to bowl flatter and faster but with the red ball I learned to fly the ball.

“I applied the same with the white ball and got success. As a leg-spinner, I believe, if you bowl in the right areas, you are always going to be a tough bowler to play against.”

Usamah was also decent in the National T20 Cup, claiming eight catches in a tournament dominated by fast bowlers, and was drafted by 2021 PSL champions Multan Sultans – who retained their main spinner Imran to keep the league going. Tahir was also left. The eighth season

With big shoes to fill, Osama has not disappointed so far. For the Mohammad Rizwan-led team, he has emerged as their main spin option and has turned the tide of matches for his side.

He said that I took the confidence that I got while playing for Pakistan in PSL and I want to thank Multan Sultans for giving me more confidence.

In six outings this season, he has taken an impressive 9 catches at 18.44 and is currently the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament.

With such numbers in the country’s flagship T20 event, after toiling in all formats of domestic cricket and performing on his international debut, Usama is already the door to selection for the ICC 50-over World Cup. Knocking is on, which is going to be held by India. Spin-friendly wickets later this year

“I have set my goals and I will work hard to do well in the upcoming series,” he said. “I am working on improving myself and want to perform even better as the World Cup approaches.”

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