Usman Qadir just couldn’t get an international game. Until this series. Until today. This second T20I against Zimbabwe could be the occasion that Qadir remembers as the one that made him a serious option for the national team in short-form cricket.

there was a brief period in which the possibility of representing that side did not seem unreal; in any case, his international prospects in Pakistan looked bleak. That soon faded though, and last year, apparently out of nowhere, head coach and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq brought him out of the cold for a tour of Australia. However, he never got a game, and when he was chosen for the third T20I against Bangladesh in January, it rained before the draw could take place. On that rain-soaked day, Qadir’s drought continued.

When Shadab Khan was ruled out of the ODI series against Zimbabwe due to an ankle injury, it looked like that would be the format in which Qadir would make his debut. But Pakistan left with Imad Wasim as the spin leader, and only the markers for the final ODI. Finally, belatedly, when he was handed his debut in Pakistan in the first Q20I, the 3-0-24-1 figures hardly caused a sensation.

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On Sunday, he started off pretty badly, when Wesley Madhevere pounced on a long jump to send him into the cow’s corner after his first ball. But that was the only time Qadir was wrong all day.

Qadir didn’t grant Madhevere another run everywhere, and should have left him with a perfect googly that spun sharply to crash against his pads; repetitions showed that it would also have crashed into the stump of the leg. But the referee remained impassive and surprisingly, Pakistan did not review. Qadir, however, seemed to have found the zone where his confidence and talent were in perfect harmony and, for the next 18 balls, he began to weave a web that Zimbabwe had no idea how to untangle.

Sikandar Raza lasted only two balls against him, hopelessly defeated in flight as he charged at the bowler, the googly knocking down his stumps. “That firing of Sikandar Raza was my favorite moment,” Qadir later told the PCB media channel. “He charged me and I threw the wrong ball that he missed and I got it. I really enjoyed it. This is international cricket, and only if you act will you stay on the side. In T20 cricket, if you look aggressively for windows, that helps you a lot.” .

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That is precisely what Qadir did. Not afraid to throw the ball up, to challenge hitters to attack him, he found a great balance between aggression and discipline. He released the googlies generously, but didn’t overdo it. He continued to blow the ball, but he was perfect with his line and length, so there weren’t many opportunities to hit him. And in the end he would not be denied Madhevere’s window, drawing him in on a sweep the batter failed to execute. He caught his pads once more, and this time, the referee raised his finger.

Even when Elton Chigumbura looked like he had taken the leg clamp measurement, hitting across the line above his head for six and sliding the next ball for four, Qadir was determined to laugh one last time. The final ball of his spell was a perfect leg brush, thrown just enough to lift the batter out of his crease and spin sharply enough to leave him stranded. He gave Mohammad Rizwan the easiest blow and Qadir his third wicket, giving him 4-0-23-3 figures overall.

“When I played the first game, I was a little nervous, as you can put before playing his first game. Although they told me that I played well and the team supported me, they only told me not to repeat the mistakes I made during the first game. party, “he said. “So I worked on them. The management and the captain gave me confidence during the second game, so I felt like I was playing much more mature today. I felt like my googly was spinning, even though the crotch wasn’t doing as much. With Fortunately, this level of performance will continue in the future. “

It was a performance that Shadab would have been proud of. In fact, it might as well have left a certain Abdul Qadir beaming.