Who is Usman Khan, the former UAE gas company worker who broke the record for the fastest PSL century?
Usman Khan broke several records yesterday (March 11, 2023) as he registered the fastest individual century in the history of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Here’s all you need to know about the 27-year-old opening batter from Pakistan.
On March 10, Multan Sultans registered the highest successful run chase in Pakistan Super League (PSL) history when they chased down a target of 243 against Peshawar Zalmi. As if that wasn’t enough, they followed it up with the highest-ever team total in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) history the following night (March 11, 2023), riding on the back of a memorable innings by Usman Khan, who scored 120 off 43 deliveries at an astonishing strike rate of 279.07.
The eighth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) has seen abnormally high scores with the bat, with run-scoring reaching a crescendo over the last week. Usman had missed out on a majority of the action after scoring a golden duck in the first match of the season against Lahore Qalandars. He made way for Shan Masood in the previous game and had an immediate impact.
He started off slow, taking his time to get his eye in. After the first two overs, he was batting on four off seven. It was in the third over of the innings that he decided he had had enough, and threw caution to the wind, smashing four boundaries off Ajmal Khan. Since then, he never looked back.
Khan put on an exhibition. Inside outs, slog sweeps, lofts down the ground – you name a shot and he had it on display. He took a special liking to Qais Ahmed, scoring 54 runs and hitting as many as six sixes to go with a total of 10 boundaries out of the 12 balls he faced against him. One of those boundaries was a switch hit over third man which took him to his hundred.
He was finally stumped off a wide ball off Mohammad Nawaz in the 11th over for a score of 120. Yes, you read that right. 11th over. 120. No one in the history of recognised T20 cricket has had a higher individual score at that stage of the innings.
The journey through the middle-east
Usman Khan has not had it easy though. While he was born in Pakistan, his road to Pakistan Super League (PSL) success has come via the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He moved to the UAE a few years back in search of a job as he had financial issues back home.
In Tahir Hasan, the general manager of Brother Gas, Usman found a boss who had cricket in his veins. Hasan had started a cricket club around 13 years ago in the UAE and was on the lookout for people who wanted employment while pursuing cricket along the side.
Usman was the perfect candidate for him. He had done well in club cricket in Karachi, and when the got the opportunity to work for Hasan in the UAE, he invariably did well in the cricketing circles there too.
Usman’s goal was to target the national team selection for the UAE once he became eligible. But destiny had other plans for him. He got a call from the Quetta Gladiators ahead of PSL 2021 and ended up making his T20 debut for them in the same season, scoring 81 (50) in his very first recognised T20 game.
The Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) happened the following year, as he was signed by the Chattogram Challengers for the 2022/23 season. It was there that he struck his first T20 hundred, scoring an unbeaten 109 off 57 deliveries to take his side over the line in a chase of 179 against the Khulna Tigers.
His latest hundred has brought him into the limelight. And now the obvious question that will follow this superb knock is whether there’s a chance for him to play for Pakistan in case he keeps excelling. On being asked about this in the post-match conference, he seemed not so keen on the idea.
“You know how uncertain conditions are in Pakistan. No one knows what will happen next. If you score in one match and don’t perform in next two matches, people start criticizing you. If you perform in another country, only then Pakistan consider you good enough. I will continue to play the way I am doing right now,” Usman said.
But if he keeps putting up similar performances on a consistent basis, who knows? He might get an offer he can’t refuse.