Pakistan looked to have unearthed a new star in Usman Qadir after his latest excellent performance in the T20I series opener against South Africa.

A Pakistan international career for Usman, son of the famous Abdul Qadir, looked very unlikely a few years ago.

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Pakistan’s Usman Qadir celebrates taking a wicket against Zimbabwe. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

The legspinner was turning out for W.A and the Perth Scorchers and had stated his desire to represent Australia at the T20 World Cup.

However, after a brief stint with Central Punjab in 2019, the former Pakistan youth international received a first call-up to his native country’s senior squad.

In November 2020, Qadir made his T20I debut and it’s fair to say that his performances have been impressive since then.

Pakistan have unearthed new star in Usman Qadir

In his debut series against Zimbabwe, he was the hosts’ standout bowler, taking 1/24, 3/23 and 4/13 as Pakistan eased to 3-0 win.

It was a good early indicator of his ability, but with all due respect to Zimbabwe, it was a relatively gentle introduction to international cricket for the 27-year-old.

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Usman Qadir took eight wickets in three matches against Zimbabwe. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

His excellent showing against a dangerous if rather inexperienced South Africa side on Thursday proved beyond doubt that he has the ability to go far in the game, though.

Qadir was by far the most economical of the Pakistan bowlers to bowl more than a solitary over, only conceding only 21 runs from his full set at 5.25 per over.

Crucially, though, he also posed a threat and picked up two important wickets.

First, the wily spinner bamboozled Janneman Malan (44) – who had got the Proteas’ chase off to an excellent start – with a perfectly set-up googly.

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Pakistan spinner Usman Qadir picks up the crucial wicket of Janneman Malan. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Then, in his next over, the same variation did for South Africa no. 3 Jacques Snyman (2), who had looked uncertain against the leggy from the moment he walked to the crease.

Qadir’s double strike halted the tourists’ momentum and proved to be a turning point in a game the hosts eventually won by just three runs.

There’s a sense that this Pakistan side is still very much a work in progress in white-ball cricket, but they have won all four matches Usman Qadir has featured in and it’s becoming clear that that is no coincidence.

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