Usman Rafiq was afforded the opportunity to work out with the Cricket All Stars during their recent US tour. Here, the 27-year old all-rounder shares his “amazing and unforgettable” experience being around the cricket legends, with USACricketers.com
What is your most cherished moment being around the All Stars?
Watching all of them in person and being around them at one place was definitely a dream come true, getting on the field for Sachin’s Blasters team was just amazing and unforgettable.
Among the players, who was your childhood idol and why?
Well, to be honest, I have watched cricket so much since I was a child, that many of them have inspired me throughout the time. Being an off-spinner, Saqlain Mushtaq was my idol, but then again I have learned a lot from other greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Wasim Akram.
How receptive were the All-Stars toward you?
Everyone was down to earth and deserve all the respect due. They were very supportive and interactive when it came to any questions being asked.
Which player gave you the best advice, and what was it?
I talked to Graeme Swann and he showed me his bowling grip, and explained how he gets turn and drifts. Sachin of course was my highlight when he appreciated my efforts out in the field and back in dressing room, again telling me that he liked the effort I put towards that catch.
How many selfies and autographs did you get, and from which players?
I took a few selfies and autographs from Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaq, Jacques Kallis, Kumar Sangakkara, Mathew Hayden and Ricky Ponting
What have you learned from the experience of being around so many legendary cricketers?
First, I would say what I’ve learned the most from them is how to be a person and stay humble, even at any successful stage of your life. They are amazing human beings and showed that nothing comes easy in life unless you work hard for it.
Do you believe cricket in the USA will advance because of the All Stars Tour of America, and if so, how will it?
I definitely see that changes are coming to the country, and everything to me, is headed in a positive direction. And yes, I believe the cricket All Stars tour made a huge impact on the US market and on many cricketers like myself. They gave us hope and encouragement to keep working hard and doing better. The rest is left up the one and only who writes the destiny for everyone.