Pakistan have withdrawn teen pacer Naseem Shah from their squad for the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup that gets underway later this month in South Africa.

16-year-old Shah became the youngest cricketer to make his debut in Australia last year and has since impressed with his raw pace. More recently, he became the youngest fast bowler to record a five-wicket haul in Tests.

However, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced that he won’t be part of their squad as he has already made a name in senior cricket as the U-19 world cup is a competition to provide platform for future stars.

“The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup is a stepping stone for future stars and a platform for budding youngsters to graduate to international cricket. Naseem has recently broken that glass ceiling and has established his credentials as an international cricketer,” PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said on Tuesday. “As such, the PCB has taken a pragmatic approach and decided to withdraw him from next year’s competition to provide this opportunity to another promising cricketer so that he can show his mettle and potential at a global stage.”

PCB’s junior selection panel, led by Saleem Jaffer, has named Mohammad Wasim Junior as Shah’s replacement.

“This should not deter Pakistan’s chances at next year’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup as the selectors have picked a side that is experienced and bubbling with confidence to perform strongly. Naseem will now remain in Pakistan and continue to work on his skills under the watchful eyes of bowling coach Waqar Younis. Furthermore, he will remain available for the home series against Bangladesh,” Wasim said.

The 2020 U-19 Cricket World Cup gets underway from January 17 with the final to be played on February 9. Pakistan are in Group C alongside Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Scotland.