UAE set to lose batting star Usman Khan after his call-up to Pakistan training camp

Multan Sultans batter had been set to qualify for national team but looks likely to pick country of his birth after PSL heroics

Multan Sultans' Usman Khan made a half century in the Pakistan Super League final against Islamabad United in Karachi on Monday, March 18, 2024. AP
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Usman Khan has been called into Pakistan’s training squad after his remarkable display in the Pakistan Super League.

The Multan Sultans batting star was named among 29 players to undergo a fitness camp run in collaboration with the Pakistan Army in Abbottabad.

Usman had been due back in Dubai on Saturday following his stint at the PSL. The number of days he spends outside of the UAE is closely monitored as part of his previously stated desire to qualify for the UAE national team.

A player can become eligible for an adopted team after three years as resident in the new country. Usman has lived in the UAE for that duration.

However, his eligibility has been delayed by the number of days he has spent outside the country in that time, specifically when he has been in Pakistan for the PSL, and Bangladesh for that country’s T20 league.

He has risen to prominence playing in those competitions, having scored centuries in each the PSL and BPL.

His form in the most recent edition of the PSL, which concluded a week ago, brought him even greater stardom.

He scored 96, then centuries in successive matches, to power Multan Sultans into the playoffs. He then struck a half century in the final, only for his side to fall to a thrilling, last-ball defeat Islamabad United.

His run of form earned him a call-up to the training camp in Abbottabad. It does not immediately discount him from representing the UAE in future, but it now seems likely he will choose Pakistan.

Usman had previously stated that a lack of backing in Pakistan and the precarious nature of top-level cricket in the country had led him to pursue an opportunity in the Emirates instead.

He was recently granted a retainer contract by the Emirates Cricket Board for the first time, with a view to bringing him into the side as soon as he is eligible next year.

However, it is understood Usman is now increasingly keen on the prospect of playing for his country of birth, with the T20 World Cup in the US and Caribbean taking place in June.

As such, he has stayed on to take part in the training camp alongside the stars of the game in Pakistan.

According to a PCB statement, the camp is “designed to prepare the players for the upcoming series and tournaments, including the home T20I series against New Zealand, the away T20I series against Ireland and England, and the forthcoming ICC T20 World Cup in USA and West Indies”.

The squad of players also includes two other players who were previously unavailable to the Pakistan selectors.

Imad Wasim, the player of the match in the PSL final, and Mohammed Amir both went back on their decisions to retire from international duty this week.

Pakistan training squad

Aamir Jamal, Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Haseebullah, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Irfan Khan, Mehran Mumtaz, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Ali, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Sahibzada Farhan, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir, Usman Khan, Zaman Khan

Updated: March 30, 2024, 5:04 PM