The son of Pakistani Test great Abdul Qadir has set his sights on playing for Australia, boosting his chances by taking three South African wickets for a Prime Minister’s XI.
A leg-spinner like his father, Usman Qadir donned the Australian colours for the first time in the PM XI’s win over a near full-strength Proteas in a one-day warm-up on Wednesday ahead of their limited overs series.
With a repertoire of leg-breaks, googlies and top-spinners, he is in the country on a temporary activity visa and plans to apply for a distinguished talent visa so he can stay on and get citizenship to represent the national team.
If he achieves his dream, he will follow in the footsteps of another Pakistani who secured citizenship to play for Australia — Fawad Ahmed, who appeared five times for his adopted country, making his debut in 2013.
“My goal is to play for Australia in 2020 in the T20 World Cup,” said Qadir after taking 3-28 from his 10 overs in the game at Canberra.
“Before that if I get the opportunity to play for Australia in a Test or one-day cricket I would love that.”
Qadir, 25, has played in Australian grade cricket, performing well, and recently made his debut for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield.
But getting the tick of approval from his father, who played 67 Tests and 104 one-dayers for Pakistan, to switch countries has not been easy.
“There is a very big debate whenever I talk about Pakistan things. I’d just keep on telling my dad that I want to play for Australia and he keeps telling me ‘no, you have to play for Pakistan’,” Qadir told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“For a couple of years I did not get any chance to play in Pakistan, I got named in the teams but I never played, in Twenty20s or one-dayers or whatever, I was always sitting on the bench.
“When I came here, they give me the opportunity and I’m performing.
“He (Qadir senior) just gave me permission and said ‘I have a blessing with you. Whatever you need to do, you can do it, because you are growing up and you’re old enough to make your own decision’”