Australia, Pakistan in tug-of-war over Abdul Qadir's son, Usman

Nineteen-year-old leg-spinner has impressed Australian cricket chiefs but Pakistan may pick rookie bowler for tour of West Indies this month

Updated: July 03, 2013 17:23 IST
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With one leg-spinner of Pakistani origin, Fawad Ahmed, 'under their belt' already, Australia's cricket bosses are now eyeing another young sub-continental talent with a famous surname. Usman, son of Pakistan great Abdul Qadir, and all of 19, is attracting a lot of eyeballs in a nation struggling to groom quality wrist spinners.

In a report published in the Sydney Morning Herald, it has been suggested that Usman showed interest in returning to Australia, where he played club cricket last year in Adelaide and with South Australia's Futures League team featuring under-23 players.

But Pakistan are not sitting quiet. In what could be a surprise move, the Pakistan Cricket Board may include Usman for the tour of West Indies later this month. Interestingly, Usman has yet not played a first-class game although he has eight domestic ODIs against his name.

"He has shown some interest (in representing Australia) but I also know he's of significant interest in his home system," said South Australia's director of cricket Jamie Cox. "We're pretty much tip-toeing our way through our options from here."

Usman has also represented Pakistan in under-19 ODIs in 2012. His return to Adelaide this season was much expected and Cricket Australia too was in the loop.

"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. We've sort of left it in Ussy's hands."

Since Shane Warne's retirement, Australia have been searching for a wrist spinner. Nathan Lyon, an off-spinner, is currently the No.1 in Tests while Xavier Doherty, left-arm orthodox, heads the department in ODIs.

The Aussies have high hopes on Fawad, who recently got his citizenship bid accepted. At 31, the one thing probably not on Fawad's side is his age. If Usman choses to play for Australia, it could be a big plus for them.

Usman was quoted last December saying he had been "offered to play for Australia" but was yet to decide on that. "I've left the final decision in my father's hands," Usman reportedly said to a Pakistani website.

Usman's father, took 236 wickets in 67 Tests for Pakistan and is widely regarded as one of the best ever leg-spinners to have played the game, certainly the best from the country.

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