Mystery wrist-spinner Usman Qadir has been named as part of WA’s 12-man squad to face Victoria at the WACA in Tuesday’s Sheffield Shield opener.
Qadir, the son of Pakistani leg-spinning great Abdul Qadir, pushed his stocks up with a solid JLT Cup campaign after signing as an overseas player with the Perth Scorchers in September.
If selected in Western Australia’s starting XI – which appears likely, given part-timer Will Bosisto is the only other tweaker at Ashton Turner’s disposal – Qadir will take a large step towards realising his dream of playing for Australia.
The 25-year-old, who has played eight first class matches, moved to Sydney in 2016 after becoming disillusioned with the way cricket was run in Pakistan.
“I want to play for Australia, definitely 100 per cent. Because I did not get any chances in Pakistan,” Qadir told The Sydney Morning Herald last month.
“Hopefully I will get citizenship in two years’ time. My goal is to play for Australia at the 2020 World T20.”
Wicketkeeper Josh Inglis has been picked ahead of fluent left-hander and oft-injured gloveman Sam Whiteman.
As expected, fragile quicks Nathan Coulter-Nile, Joel Paris and Jason Behrendorff have been put on ice, with Matthew Kelly, David Moody, Simon Mackin and talented all-rounder Cameron Green in contention to lead WA’s pace attack.
Another Pakistan-born leg-spinner, Fawad Ahmed, has been included in Victoria’s squad after losing his state contract at the start of the season.
Left-hander Nic Maddinson has been left out despite playing a strong role in the Bushrangers’ successful one-day campaign.
Maddinson, who played three tests in 2016, was cut from NSW at the end of last year and moved to Melbourne in search of a fresh start.
The 26-year-old remains uncontracted.
WA squad: Ashton Turner (capt), William Bosisto, Hilton Cartwright, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kelly, Simon Mackin, David Moody, Josh Philippe, Usman Qadir, Marcus Stoinis, Jonathon Wells
Victoria squad: Peter Handscomb (capt), Fawad Ahmed, Scott Boland, Jackson Coleman, Travis Dean, Andrew Fekete, Seb Gotch, Marcus Harris, Will Pucovski, Matt Short, Chris Tremain, Cameron White.