Brutal with the bat, slippery with the ball and with enough body art that he could open up his own exhibition, ‘Arman Usman’ an emerging young star of Cricket firmament in Canada exclusively speaks to Syncmag about his cricket journey since childhood, his inspirations, role models, experiences, obstacles and his love & passion for cricket.
Syncmag: It is a pleasure to sit down and talk to you Mr. Usman. Before we begin, tell us; Who is Arman Usman? Describe yourself in a few words.
Arman: Thank you for having me Sadia. My name is Arman andI am an aspiring cricketer from Montreal, QC Canada. In terms of cricket, I am a right-handed batsman and leg-spin bowler.
Syncmag: How did you get interested in cricket? What got you into the game?
Arman: I had gotten familiar with the game when I had gone to Pakistan at the age of 6 where I saw everyone around me playing the sport. My uncles would play daily and the passion with which they played the game with, had caught onto me. It’s been an obsession since then.
Syncmag: You have a fairy-tale story. A young kid with dreams, has the world against him but goes against the grain to chase his dream. You’ve through some serious struggles since an early age to pursue cricket. Who helpedyou get through these times? How did you stay focused?
Arman: I truly believe that I’ve done nothing special or out of this world. There does seems to be an unnecessary hype around me. There are loads of passionate individuals in this world who are working very hard to get to where they need to be. Working 10x harder than me. I put in the effort I needed to put and got results in return.It’s basic life skills.
The person who has helped me greatly in my life is my coach; SenyoNyakutse. He had instilled belief in me, passed on the ethics of the game and taught me much more than just cricket. I was an unsure 15 year old kid when he met me and through some serious training, discipline and motiv, he’s made me into who I am today. I will forever be in debt to him for what he has done for me and my family. In terms of focus, I always had one goal in mind and that was to one day play professional cricket at the highest level and nothing around me would make me budge from that. In times of self-doubt, my teammates and Coach would be the ones guiding me.
Syncmag: You got years of cricket training from SenyoNyakutse–Former Zimbabwe National Player& Founder of Cricket Montreal, what were your learnings from Senyo himself?
Arman: I’ve learnt basically everything I’ve learnt about cricket, through him. As a kid, I would engulf myself to cricket every day. I had a really solid knowledge of the game, its rules, the players and the “theory” part of it. Since the day we got internet, I’ve been on Cricinfo every day. I learnt how to read through reading Cricinfo articles. So I knew what cricket was. But in terms of the actual playing of cricket, I learnt everything from him. And when we weren’t talking about cricket, he would be passing on life lessons, tips and advice. I wanted to learn everything from him.
Syncmag: Who were your idols while growing up?
Arman: My idols growing up were Sachin Tendulkar, Saeed Anwar, Shane Warneand Shoaib Akhtar. I loved Sachin’s humility, Saeed’s strokeplay, Shane Warne’s leg spinning ability and the brute passion with which Shoaib played the game. Seeing him huffing and puffing, at full-sprint from the boundary and viciously letting the ball go as fast he can was very exciting to watch every time. He had attitude, talent and speed. For me, the epitome of a showman, fast bowler. A person whom people will pay to watch. Til’ this day, one of my most favorite sportsmen to watch on the field.
Syncmag: We are just overwhelmed as you are at the age ofonly 21 with such major cricketing achievements, how did all this came to happen? And what are your feelings like? How do you feel?
Arman: I feel like there is much to be done. I don’t think of anything I’ve done as major yet. Again, unnecessary hype around me which shouldn’t be there. I’ve played a season in England and have trained at other places around the world but I’d like to do much more. I feel normal. I’m still the same person at heart as I was before travelling. I do feel wiser and have gained more life experience but still same person at heart. Everything that has happened so far, is the result of work I’ve put in over the years. But that’s now behind me and I’d like to focus on the future.
Syncmag: You have been featured on National TV such as CBC, CityTV and Global TV (to name a few), what is the pressure to go on national TV?
Arman: There is definitely a bit of butterflies before going on TV as you don’t know how people are going to receive it. If whether you had said the right thing or whether you’re coming off too strong. Especially when going LIVE to an audience who knows little or nothing about cricket. So whatever I say or do is their perception of what cricket is. It is a huge responsibility to have and I completely embrace it. My job is to make sure that cricket is portrayed as the sport it truly is, the Gentleman’s sport.
Syncmag: Where was your first tour to? How was it?
Arman: The first tour I ever did was a 6-week world tour. It was when I was 19 and in one tour, I had travelled to New York, London, Dubai and then Karachi. It was a phenomenal tour to take as I was by myself. No mum or dad. Just a regular, 19 year old kid against the world. It was all done for the purpose of training and surrounding myself with cricket in countries where the sport was huge. I got to train at the MCC Academy at Lords (England) and the ICC Global Cricket Academy (Dubai) with former Pakistani opening batsman, MudassarNazar. Got to meet so many interesting people in cricketing fields and just regular everyday interactions. There was just so much to learn from both a cricketing and life perspective.
Syncmag: What remained your greatest inspiration through your cricket journey so far?
Arman: My greatest inspiration through my journey so far has been my childhood. As a kid, I was very quiet and shy. I didn’t have much friends, if any. I was very low on self-belief and had trouble expressing myself. Through playing cricket and the guidance of Senyo, I was able to gain the confidence and self-belief that I had always lacked.
When I look back at everything that has happened and the way that cricket has helped me become the person I am;THAT is my biggest inspiration. Cricket has the ability to help kids become good human beings. The character building, the morals and the values that this game presents are all attributes that every human on earth should live by. If everyone in this world learnt something from the games’ traits, then the world would be a more welcoming and peaceful place.
Syncmag: We’ve asked a few serious questions. To ease thingsa bit, a more of a fun question. You’re a humble, mature, handsome young man. How are you with the ladies? Any relationships?
Arman: (Smiles and Blushes) That’s a nice question (Smiles again). I wouldn’t consider myself “good with the ladies” at all. I’ve always been somewhat shy and reserved my whole life. I’m able to talk and all now with no hesitancy but I keep it to friends only. My friends from high school would tell you the exact same thing (Laughs). If I find somebody then we’ll see. For the time being, I just want to focus on the goals ahead.
Syncmag: How do you stay so strong-minded? What drives you to continue playing the game?
Arman: I just love the game. Everything about it. I forget about the world when I’m playing and feel like I can do anything. It’s a beautiful game.
Syncmag: You’re a very humble individual. The answers in this Q&A speak for itself. Why do you come off like that?
Arman: I’m not sure but I’ve always admired humility on part of individuals. I’ve never been the outrageous, out-going type. Just a quiet kid in the back of the class and I’ve accepted that.
Syncmag: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What is your dream?
Arman: (With a huge glow in his eyes) As a cricketer, in 5 years from now, I would like to see myself in the IPL. That is my dream. I visualize it every day. There is a law of physics called the “Law of Attraction”. A law stating that your thoughts have physical power. I’ve used it and seen it happen first hand. I have a vision board at home with pictures of the IPL, Shah Rukh Khan (KKR Owner), Sachin Tendulkar and numerous other goals. Playing in the IPL is my ultimate dream.
As my own man, I’d like to provide a healthy and strong lifestyle for my family and parents. They’ve worked really hard to raise us in a country that is unknown to them. I want to make sure that I give them everything that they deserve and more. I’d also like to help my coach, Senyo, with his ventures.
I’d also like to get into humanitarian work. Whether its helping kids in need of education, food, water or poverty stricken countries OR even helping kids here in Montreal. To help them stay away from the streets and bad influences.
I want to give back to everyone. Whether it’s a thought, insight, perspective or saying. I want to be able to impact someone in a positive manner. Life is a long, hard journey but it is an interesting one. If I can do something to contribute to someone’s well-being then it is something I would do in a heartbeat.
Syncmag: Sitting in the dugout, how do you judge cricketers during a game?
Arman: When you’re in the dugout out, watching the game unfold, it generally means that your team is batting. Which means that you’re judging/analyzing the opposing team that is fielding. When I’m doing that, I look at fielding placements at first. I try to read the game as to where each person is placed, the areas the bowler is pitching and the body language of the bowler himself. Him being far away, it is very difficult to know what is happening but the physical aspects should make it more than apparent as to what is about to unfold.
Syncmag: The cricket scene in Canada is in a transition phase, what are the challenges ahead for Canadian players? And what is the future of cricket in Canada? Are we about to see the next wave of young Canadian cricketers come through?
Arman: I truly believe that the younger generation of current Canadian cricketers are better prepared than previous generations. With the emergence of private academies such as Cricket Montreal, Ontario Cricket Academy, Alberta Schools and Cricket Association (ASCA), etc, proper cricket coaching is being provided to kids nationwide. It is the definite step towards growing the sport. The grassroots level should be strong and the game should grow from there. There are other aspects of the game in Canada that should be improved however that is beyond the control of private academies and coaches.
Syncmag: Anything you would like to say to our readers!
Arman: Yes! (Says with excitement) Pursue your dreams and follow your passion. Obstacles are all part of life. You have to get up on your feet and keep moving forward. The only person that stops you from getting you to where you need to be is you. Dream big! The world is your canvas.