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'Indians Including Unmukt Chand, More than 100 Pakistan Cricketers Looking at Career in USA'

'Indians Including Unmukt Chand, More than 100 Pakistan Cricketers Looking at Career in USA'

Former Pakistan opener Sami Aslam revealed that quite a few former Under-19 India cricketers, including 2012 U-19 World Cup winning captain Unmukt Chand are looking at a future playing cricket in USA.

Former Pakistan opener Sami Aslam revealed that quite a few former Under-19 India cricketers, including 2012 U-19 World Cup winning captain Unmukt Chand are looking at a future playing cricket in USA. Aslam said more than 100 first-class cricketers from Pakistan are keen to move to USA looking to settle in the country. Aslam, 25, has played 13 Tests for Pakistan scoring 758 runs at an average of 31.58. Unhappy with continuous selection snubs, Aslam has decided to quit cricket in Pakistan and move to USA.

“30 or 40 foreign players have arrived in America recently. A few former Under-19 Indian players have also arrived, including Unmukt Chand, Smit Patel and Harmeet Singh," Aslam told Pakpassion.net. “There are many players from South Africa over here now who have played a lot of First-class cricket in their homeland. Former New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson is also here. The set-up and system are very impressive and well structured. USA Cricket is really putting in a huge effort to improve cricket in America and to move it forward. It will take time for them to reach the higher levels, but the standard of cricket in America is improving fast.

“There are trainers and good coaches also out here, some of whom have previously worked in the Indian Premier League. J Arunkumar is the USA Head Coach and he was formerly the Kings XI Punjab’s batting coach in the 2017 IPL season. He has also coached in the Ranji Trophy and he’s an excellent coach.

“There are tournaments regularly held around the country and leagues are played at weekends, so there’s quite a lot of cricket being played."

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Aslam said plenty of cricketers from Pakistan are ‘desperate’ to move to USA given the issues in Pakistan cricket.

“I guarantee you that any Pakistani player who is not centrally contracted will want to settle in America and play cricket here. I have had calls from over 100 First-class players in Pakistan exploring the possibility of them settling in America. Even the best performers currently in Pakistan domestic cricket are keen to move here. At the moment USA cricket are recruiting a lot of South African and Australian players, but a lot of Pakistani players have tried and are desperate to move here. There is a lot of competition to move out here and at the moment not Pakistani players are being selected although one or two are close to being signed-up in the coming days."

Aslam made his debut in 2015 and in his third Test, against England at Edgbaston in 2016, made 82 and 70. The left-hander, though, was on and off in the playing XI and snubbed despite scoring 864 runs during the 2019-20 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

“I was tired of performing regularly for the last 5 or 6 years in all formats in domestic cricket yet being ignored by the selectors. If I was picked, I’d play a couple of matches and then get dropped. I was even dropped after having performed well in tough conditions. There were players who would flop in 10 matches and still get picked, but if I failed even a couple of times, I’d be left out. There seemed to be different parameters for me and different parameters for others. So, I had that feeling that the selectors didn’t want to pick me and were just looking for excuses to not have to pick me.

“In the 2017 edition of the Pakistan One-Day Cup, I scored 169 in one game and hit 109 in the final, yet they didn’t pick me for the Pakistan One-day side. I scored 864 runs in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in the 2019/20 season and ended up with the highest average of 78.54 in that tournament. Then the selectors picked an extended squad for the tour of England and I was ignored, so I felt that I had to do something as these guys were just ruining my career. But even then, I waited for the squad announcement for the tour of New Zealand in 2020 and once again I was ignored, yet some players were picked for that series who had very little experience of domestic cricket and had no performances at all or had a one or two scores of note.

“It’s all about the culture of “liking and disliking” individuals. If your face fits, you are fine, if not, they will find any way to side-line you. I’ll give you the example of T20 cricket, where I was a solid performer in T20 tournaments in Pakistan and then suddenly the PSL comes along, and I am deemed not good enough for this format. Some guys have been picked for the PSL who weren’t even being picked for club cricket, yet I wasn’t even picked as a supplementary player in 6 tournaments. That is clear evidence that PSL selection is about who is well-in with the owners and the team management, and my face didn’t fit so that’s why I never got the chance to play in the PSL."

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first published:May 09, 2021, 15:01 IST