There’s a long running joke in cricket: Shahid Afridi never ages. Literally.
Ever since the allrounder walked into collective consciousness when he smashed a record-breaking 37-ball century with a borrowed bat, Afridi has created a legacy of his own.
A constant modification of his age became a running theme through his playing career, a fact he has himself acknowledged. When he made debut, on-paper, Afridi was 16 but later in his book he revised that to 19.
Seems a certain fast bowling sensation that has the world of cricket swooning over his potential has taken a leaf out of his illustrious predecessor.
Naseem Shah became the youngest to make his Test debut in Australia on Thursday when he was given the Pakistan cap by fast bowling legend Waqar Younis. 16 years and 279 days is his age on record when he donned the Test whites.
What has caught everyone’s attention is his raw pace at such a young age and the fact that he delivered that hostile spell in a tour match leaving top Aussie batsmen struggling days after his mother passed away only raised his stocks.
However, a three-year-old article has caught the attention where Naseem is being claimed to be a promising 16-year-old pacer.
West Indies fast bowling legend Andy Roberts has been quoted as such by Pakistan English daily Dawn as being impressed with ‘a young fast bowler by the name of Nasim who ‘is just 16-year-old.’
Interesting part is, the article was published in August 2016. Over three years before Naseem made his international debut, aged, well, 16.
“I must say that I very much liked a young fast bowler by the name of Nasim. He is just 16-year-old. I am sorry that I did not have at least two, three weeks` time to work with him,” Roberts told Dawn while giving his opinion on the talent that emerged out of a coaching-based reality TV show in Pakistan.
He added, “This fellow is very aggressive, he has real pace and he is so young. Once he has the passion and he maintains it, he will reach well. He is a very good prospect.”