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There were ten off just three remaining in a significant encounter between Karachi Kings and Peshawar Zalmi where the latter’s Shahid Afridi had decided to turn the tables on their opposition. Boom Boom had crossed the half-century mark and looked all set to take the game away from Karachi. There was a very young leggie in Usama Mir on bowling, and everyone wondered how he would keep his nerves against World’s best hitter.
Of course, Afridi was the best in the business four years ago when the game was going on in PSL 2017 and he had hit the likes of Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan, and Usman Shinwari for fun. The Kings’ skipper had to rely on Usama because he had no other option. On the 4th delivery of the last over, Usama bowled a delivery outside the off stump, Afridi went for a big hit but ended up losing his wicket after the ball was caught on the fine leg by Chris Gayle.
Usama dismissed Hasan Ali on the last delivery and returned a great figure of 28/2 in 4 overs. He remained the best spinner in the same tournament, where he picked 12 wickets with an economy rate of 8.19 and a strike rate of 13.9. It is a wicket after every 14 balls in T20 cricket.
From 2017 to 2021, there has been a significant shift in Usama Mir’s career as 25 years old remained unpicked in PSL 2021. PCB announced the schedule of the 2021-22 domestic cricket season, Usama Mir was out of the list of the players selected for the domestic cricket season. From being the next big thing in Pakistan to an unheard voice is a terrific journey, and it must have been full of tragedies and misfortunes as well as some mistakes.
How did Usama’s Journey Start?
Usama Mir was a young 15 years old boy when Shoaib Malik saw him a club. A year later, former skipper of Pakistan told him that he would consider it a misfortune of the country if Usama doesn’t serve it. This is how good he was.
In 2013, Usama Mir played his first domestic T20 tournament under the captaincy of Shoaib Malik and their side went on to become the Champion of the season. Usama becoming the best bowler of the game. Three years later, Usama featured in the inaugural edition of HBL PSL, where he represented Malik’s led Karachi Kings, the most expensive franchise of the tournament.
When Kings were playing their last game of the tournament, Micky Arthur, the head coach of Kings in the season, appreciated Usama’s leg-spin in an interview with the Commentators and declared him an excellent prospect for Pakistan. All eyes were on the emerging spinner and people wondered how his career would shape up as Yasir Shah was struggling with the white ball in 2016.
When Things Went Wrong
Sometimes, even more, minor things like injuries play a significant role in the decline of an era. Usama Mir got injured in 2016 and a Sciatica problem kept him on the bed for as many as seven months. After he recovered, he played PSL 2017 and proved himself to be the best spinner and 5th highest wicket-taker of the tournament.
To his bad luck, Karachi Kings included Shahid Afridi in their side, which forced the management of Karachi Kings even to sideline the best spinner of the previous season.
Usama wasn’t given consistent chances in the Quaid e Azam trophy as well. He was given games after as many as 4-5 matches and wasn’t asked to bowl after just 4-5 overs. When leg-spinners were bowling 50+ overs in the red-ball format, Usama wasn’t given five even. Usama Mir hasn’t played much of test cricket since 2018 now.
Next year in PSL, Afridi moved to Multan Sultans from Karachi Kings, Still, Usama’s but Usama’s fortune didn’t change as Karachi found a new emerging spin bowler in Umer Khan who played consistently in PSL4. That was the time when Usama should have moved to a better franchise where he would have gotten the deserved place and respect.
He did not do this, and as a result, he was benched in PSL5 as well. Next year, in PSL 2021, he remained unpicked as no franchise found any interest in the 25-year-old leg-spinner. In KPL 2021, he represented Muzaffarabad Tigers but failed to make headlines.
Domestic Season 2021-22
Recently, when PCB announced the schedule and squads of the domestic season 2021-22, Usama Mir wasn’t in the team of any team. Around him, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, and Zahid Mehmood have represented Pakistan, while Shadab is the vice Captain of Pakistan in white-ball currently.
In 2017 when Usama Mir remained the best spinner of PSL, Shadab Khan had just started his career but was selected in the national team immediately and went on to win the Champions Trophy 2017 alongside the team. Usman Qadir is currently in the around him20 World Cup 2021, while Zahid Mehmood is also in the limelight.
After 2017, Usama Mir did not get any chances in PSL, and he was also ignored in domestic cricket. Reactively, he should have changed his franchise in PSL and could have asked selectors to select him in any other side as in domestic; he was playing in Northerns side that was packed by the likes of Imad, Shadab, Nawaz, and Nauman.
He wasn’t getting any chance in the second XI of Northerns even. Not leaving Karachi Kings and Northern has cost quite highly to Usama Mir as selectors have ignored him in the domestic season 2021-22, and fans also don’t remember him now. Now Under new Chairman PCB, Ramiz Raja, Pakistan’s domestic system and selection policies are changing.
The new chairman will be focusing on polishing the domestic cricket structure. Pakistan’s Coaches have changed now after Misbah and Waqar resigned. The selection committee is under much pressure after announcing an unjustifiable squad for T20 World Cup 2021. Nobody knows in which direction the camel will sit. Usama Mir is still just 25; he. He still must stay confident to remind the world that he exists.