Wednesday Sep 15, 2021
The upcoming three-match One-Day International series against New Zealand, which commences on 17 September, in Rawalpindi serves an opportunity to Usman Qadir to add more international wickets next to his name.
The leg-spinner, to date, has featured in one ODI in April during Pakistan’s tour of South Africa in which he returned one for 48.
He is eager to make the most of the home advantage. “I got to bowl at the square on the first day of our training here, which was beneficial,” he told PCB Digital.
“The subsequent training sessions have also been of great help in our preparations. New Zealand have come to Pakistan after 18 years and it is a great opportunity for us to dominate them in our home conditions.”
The leg-spinner has had a promising start to his international career. In the 14 T20I innings in which he has bowled, Qadir has snared 20 wickets at 16.30 and leaked only 7.40 runs in an over.
He wants to stretch that form to 50-over international matches for which he has been seeking guidance from spin legend Saqlain Mushtaq and churning out plans with fellow leggies – Pakistan vice-captain Shadab Khan and Zahid Mahmood.
“Saqlain bhai has a great deal of experience and I try to seek as much guidance from him as possible,” he said. “Shadab [Khan], Zahid [Mahmood] and I speak about the matters that the leg-spinners have to deal with in terms of maintaining lines and lengths, and we often discuss them with Saqlain bhai.”
Meanwhile, Saud Shakeel is keen to continue to make an impression with the bat after he scored a fighting half-century at the iconic Lord’s in Pakistan’s recent tour of England. The 26-year-old middle-order batsman made 56 and his presence as a left-hander will benefit the home side in the upcoming encounter.
“Every cricketer devises goals before a series and mine is to remain fearless and bat according to modern-day standards,” he said.
Saud, who was born in Karachi and celebrated his 26th birthday earlier in the month, said the recent practice sessions have equipped him to deal with the upcoming challenges better.
“Playing a practice match helped me a great deal as it is closer to an international match. I am glad I got to bat during the twilight hours as that period is crucial for a batsman.”
The three ODIs between the two teams will be staged at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, which will see Pakistan and New Zealand play on Pakistani soil after a gap of 18 years.
The three ODIs will be followed by five T20Is in Lahore.