Usman Rafiq has forced his way into National team reckoning through sheer weight of runs in club cricket, and by consistently demonstrating the sort of work ethic and attitude that the selectors and coaching staff are looking for.

A more than handy off-spin bowler, it may be his ability to get through a few overs that sees him get his first opportunity in the starting side, with the US squad currently light on other right-arm offspin options.

He will also add some athleticism and dynamism to the group given his reputation for throwing himself around in the field.


Playing Number

Team Role



Houston, Texas


Mana & Usy

Country of Birth


Career Highlights

Being 12th man for Sachin Tendulkar's Blaster's during the Cricket Allstars

Favorite Cricketer

Sachin Tendulkar

"In my dreams I never thought I’d play with so many legends"

Bio Continued...

His cousin knew something was up when he got the phonecall. Rafiq was shaking uncontrollably, and looked for all the world like he might hurl at any moment.

It was Tom Evans on the line, ICC Americas High Performance Manager, and he had just informed Usman Rafiq that he would be sitting in the dugout with Sachin’s Blasters as 12th man and reserve fielder for the Cricket Allstars event. If he had known what was to follow there is little doubt that he would have been cleaning his lunch off the floor.

Upon hearing the news that his son would be deputizing for a team made up of some of history’s greatest cricketers, Rafiq’s father had some prophetic words of encouragement… “Son I’ve got a feeling you’re gonna be fielding. Be ready.” Rafiq as good as laughed the suggestion away. After all, each of the Allstar teams had 15 players. “The crowds didn’t come to see Usman Rafiq”. He mused in hindsight.

“In my dreams I never thought I’d play with so many legends”, and yet there he was on the night of November 11th 2015, at Minute Maid Park in Houston, sitting on the bench wearing the same uniform as Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Shoaib Akhter and Shaun Pollock to name just a few.

Part way through the first innings with his team in the field, Rafiq was standing near the boundary when ex England off-spinner Graeme Swann wandered over and casually said ‘Hey mate, c’mon in’.

If he thought he was going to be hidden somewhere obscure in the field he had another thing coming. First ball of his stint as reserve fielder and Kumar Sangakarra blasted the ball just to his left at extra cover. A couple of deliveries later and a short ball from Shoaid Akthar was cut by Jonty Rhodes past his outstretched hand at point. He was in the thick of it!

And then came the moment which will be seared into his memory for all time. The final over of Warne’s Warriors innings, Lance Klusener bowling to fellow South African Jonty Rhodes. The second ball of the over is full outside off stump, and Jonty drives uppishly toward extra cover. Rafiq realizes it is in his vicinity. 1, 2, 3 steps, and then a full stretch dive high to his right.

It all happened instinctively, and he got two hands cleanly to the ball. But unfortunately, what would have been the catch of the series didn’t stick. You could see the look of disappointment on the young man’s face, a chance to put a fairytale ending on his boys-own story had just slipped from his grasp… literally.

As he was walking from the field at the end of the over his skipper Sachin Tendulkar walked up to him and said words to the effect that it was an amazing effort. Rafiq responded, saying he was disappointed that he couldn’t hang on. The little master in that quiet but authoritative manner of his, told him that it was the effort that mattered. The opposition captain in contrast, and in typical Shane Warne style simply remarked ‘you just lost an opportunity to be on Sports Center mate’.

On reflection for Rafiq it was the encouragement from all of the legends, who to a man made a point of offering him a few words or a pat on the back, that was the highlight of the entire experience. ‘It still gives me chills just thinking about it’.