Pakistan pins hope on Usman Shinwari, its latest pace sensation

Pakistan cricket selectors on Tuesday rewarded a 19-year-old rookie bowler from the troubled province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with a place in the Twenty20 squad.

Usman Khan Shinwari was added to the squad for the two-match series against Sri Lanka starting in Dubai on Wednesday after the left-arm paceman impressed in domestic matches.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said Shinwari would join the team in time for the first match.

Umar Gul and Misbah-ul-Haq
Pakistan team has been without their most experienced pacer Umar Gul (left) since early this year due to a knee injury and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (right) would be hoping Shinwari can fill the void. Pic/AFP

"Usman Khan has been included in the national T20 side after consultations between the selectors and the team management," a PCB spokesman said.

Shinwari bowled his domestic team Zarai Taraqiati Bank (Agriculture Development Bank) to the National Twenty20 title on December 3 with a burst of 5-9 in a devastating four-over spell.

His wickets included the second-ball dismissal of Pakistan one-day and Test captain Misbah-ul Haq, who was playing for champions Sui Northern Gas.

Pakistan's Test and One-day captain, Misbah-ul-Haq had hinted recently that the youngster from the Khyber Agency in the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province could be inducted into the national team after his amazing spell of five for nine.

Shinwari has been on the selectors' radar target since early this year when he bowled with venom and penetration in domestic matches.

Misbah praised the youngster earlier this week and hinted he would make the national team.

"Shinwari bowled very well in the Twenty20 final and was nearly unplayable. We are considering his inclusion for the Sri Lanka series," Misbah had said.

"It is a dream come true for me. I was not expecting this call up but mentally I am prepared for this challenge if I get a chance to play," said the pacer, who has just played four first class since making his debut this year in a Ramazan cricket T20 tournament in Karachi.

Pakistan have a history of introducing fast bowlers at an early age, with Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed all debuting in their teens.

Shinwari may also get the selectors' nod for the five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka which follows the two Twenty20 matches.

Pakistan will play two T20 Internationals on December 11 and 13, followed by five One-day Internationals and three Tests in the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan team has been without their most experienced pacer Umar Gul since early this year due to a knee injury and also lost tall left arm pacer, Muhammad Irfan to a hip fracture during the recent series against South Africa in the UAE. 

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