Having been named Man of the Series in the triumphant Netherlands tour last week, UAE batsman Muhammad Usman insists there’s “plenty of more runs to come” from him.
The 31-year-old was the UAE’s top-scorer with tallies of 57no, 42no and 32 as the tourists won the three-match 50-over series 2-1 in Amsterdam – their first on European soil.
Usman had stiff competition for the top personal accolade with skipper Rohan Mustafa (five wickets and 100 runs) and Amjad Javed (five wickets) all impressing while medium pacer Logan van Beek (10 scalps) pressed his case.
Now having seen his feats recognised, the Lahore-born cricketer is adamant this is just the start and confident he can build on this personal achievement in the future.
“Yes, of course for me this is just beginning,” he said. “I still think that I have to do more for the UAE national cricket so that we can win more games in the future. This is just the beginning and I’m sure there will be plenty more to come from me as we go on.
“For me, it was a great feeling for me, my team and my captain (Rohan Mustafa) to have been part of the squad that won a series for the first time in Europe.
“To have won the Man of the Series award is even more special.”
Like the majority of the 14-man squad that travelled to the Dutch capital, Usman was facing the conditions for the first time.
No match practice prior to the series did not impact the UAE as they continued their resurgence under head coach Dougie Brown, who has now won 10 of his 13 matches in charge since coming on board as interim in February.
Prior to their tour Brown played down the favourites tags despite achieving series wins over Papua New Guinea and Oman in March and April, with the former England and Scotland international challenging his troops to adapt to unfamiliar conditions quickly.
Usman believes the team had no such problem settling in and lauded Brown and the coaching staff for the efforts put in at their indoor training sessions at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
“It was a very good series and in fact I would like to say thank you to the coaching staff as they knew what type of conditions we would be facing in Netherlands,” said Usman, who made his UAE debut in December 2015 against the England Lions.
“So we worked in pretty much the same conditions in the nets at the ICC Academy for around one month and I think that was the key for me scoring big runs.”
He added: “The first game where I scored an unbeaten 58 was very important. The conditions were perfect for bowlers as it was seaming and swinging around and was not easy to play the shots. I knew if I spent time at the crease, a big score would eventually come.”