DateLine: 5th May 2011
A refreshingly youthful team was selected to represent Pakistan in the 4th ODI of the ongoing series in the West Indies. Amongst the clutch of youngsters included within the experimental line-up on Sunday was the much anticipated first international cap of starlet Usman Salahuddin.
The 20 year-old right handerís selection in the Pakistan squad resulted from a strong showing during the domestic season in which he racked up five hundreds and eight fifties in just 24 matches, having previously established himself as a mainstay in the Pakistan Under-19 team's middle order.
Given the match situation, Salahuddin wasnít presented with an opportunity to show the qualities the selectors have seen in him and he talked exclusively pitchside to PakPassion.net after his full ODI debut.
"The tour is going well, although my debut wasnít very good as I got my chance late in the innings. InshaAllah if Iím selected for the next match Iíll hope to come in a little earlier and as a result perform better".
Incidentally, heís no stranger to the poison chalice of the late-innings accelerator role and the versatile youngster recently made headlines after playing a match winning hand of 56 not out in the One Day National Cup Division 2 final, hitting a four off the penultimate ball of the game to seal a memorable victory for the Lahore Eagles.
His favourite player is Mohammad Yousuf and Salahuddin's run-out in the match was reminiscent of the batting legendís best efforts. He was quizzed on his run out in the match when on just five by PakPassion: "(laughs) I told Tanvir [Ahmed] that we should run as it was the penultimate over. If he had run, we would have been ok, but unfortunately he was unable to make it". Heíll no doubt also hope to emulate Yousufís skill and appetite for runs and indicates the support structure is in place.
"Shahid [Afridi], Waqar [Younis] and Shahid Aslam have given me significant opportunity to learn and they are working us hard. Itís my first tour with Pakistan and there has been a lot to learn but Iíll put in the effort and Inshallah I will be successful".
Despite strong competition from fellow youngsters Asad Shafiq, Umer Akmal and Azhar Ali, the continuous improvement heís exhibited during the early stages of his career will stand Salahuddin in good stead as he seeks to establish himself as a permanent fixture in the Pakistan team.
(Article: Copyright © 2011 Pakistan Cricket Board)
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