KARACHI: Usman Khan Shinwari’s early induction in international cricket sparked controversy after he failed to emulate his domestic performance in the two Twenty20 games against Sri Lanka in the UAE.
With just 13 Twenty20 domestic matches to his name, the 19-year-old pacer earned a Pakistan cap in the recently-concluded series after being given preference over his senior counterparts who have been performing in the national circuit for a long time.
Shinwari’s outstanding performance in the national Twenty20 tournament where he bowled ZTBL to a title win against the Misbahul Haq-led SNGPL was the reason for his inclusion in the national side. His magical figures of five for nine also included the prize wicket of Pakistan’s Test and One-Day International (ODI) captain who seemingly advocated his selection.
However, the Khyber Agency-born experienced a frightening start in the international arena as he was smashed for 61 runs from five overs. He bowled in the two matches without taking a single wicket.
Subsequently, Shinwari was overlooked for the five-match ODI series, although he was the main contender to fill the vacant 16th spot.
But the young pacer is not shaken with the setbacks.
“It was just a bad day for me,” the teenager told The Express Tribune.
“I just didn’t read the change in conditions effectively. However, my confidence is not affected and it is not the end for me. In fact, I am feeling more confident after gaining international exposure.”
Meanwhile, critics termed Shinwari’s selection as premature, but the player said he had earned his place.
“I was selected on merit after my performance in domestic cricket. I was completely ready to perform and it was only my misfortune that I failed to deliver on my first chance.”
Shinwari added that his selection in the team has given him more motivation.
“I am not dejected with the failure and will work hard to earn my place in the national team again. There is a lot of domestic cricket nowadays and I will try to impress the selectors again.
“The World Twenty20 spot is my first target and I will work hard for it.”
Shinwari will not be discarded: selector
Pakistan Cricket Board selector Salim Jaffar said that Shinwari will not be dumped after his failure in the brief stint.
Responding to criticism of his selection, Jaffar said the selection committee took a gamble by including the young fast-bowler after his National Twenty20 performance.
“Misbah also recommended his selection and we were impressed too,” said Jaffar.
“He is a talented youngster and we will give him a chance again. We will keep an eye on him and he will not be dumped.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2013.