Naseem Shah had been making waves even before making his Test debut just for the raw pace he can generate at such a young age. The Pakistan team management was so much impressed with his potential that a 16-year-old Naseem went on to make his Test debut against Australia last week in Brisbane.
During a tour match earlier, against the home team, Naseem had given a trailer of the damage he can cause as he left the Australian batsmen huffing and puffing with his sheer pace and bounce.
But it’s not just his on-field exploits that have caught the eye. The confusion over his age has given rise to a controversy when an old interview with West Indies legend Andy Roberts resurfaced online where Naseem is being talked about as a bright 16-year-old prospect in 2016.
However, his childhood coach Suleiman Qadir has dismissed those notions saying Naseem underwent proper verification including a bone test that confirms his age. “Andy Roberts is not Naseem Shah’s father. I can guarantee you that he is 16 years of age. He came to our academy some 4 years ago and was twelve then,” Suleiman, son of late spin legend Abdul Qadir, told the Asian Age.
He added, “He has undergone Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) conducted bones tests and a panel of doctors had also confirmed his age. Yes, in the past I do agree that in the absence of birth-certificates the age of certain cricketers were questioned. But in the case of Naseem Shah, he already has a birth certificate and a smart card. In our country Smart Card becomes a National Identity Card when a person crosses 18 and Naseem is still holding the Smart Card.”
Naseem bowled 20 overs to return figures of 1/68 as Pakistan went on to lose the Test by an innings and five runs.
The second Test gets underway from Friday.