Naseem Shah, the 16-year-old pace sensation from Pakistan, whose hostile spell against Australia caught everyone’s attention, could be in line for a Test debut. Pakistan square off against Australia in the first Test in Brisbane starting Thursday and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq hinted at the inclusion of Naseem, who had Australia’s batsmen hopping and jumping during his hostile eight-over spell in a practice match.
“The best thing about Naseem Shah is the control he has on his bowling,” said Misbah. “He has a very good bowling action and knows which deliveries to bowl. He can bowl with a very good control.
“He knows his stuff and bowled really well in the first-class matches he played this season. He’s bowled well here too and is the standout bowler for us. The way he’s been bowling, he can be a match-winner for us.”
If Naseem is selected, he will become the seventh cricketer to make international debut at the age of 16, a list that comprises the all-time leading run-getter in cricket, Sachin Tendulkar.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
Naseem, touted to be an exciting prospect, displayed his credentials during Pakistan’s warm-up game against Australia XI at Perth Stadium on Wednesday which ended in a draw with the tourists making a strong statement with the pink ball. Having not bowled in the first innings, Naseem delivered a cracking spell of fast bowling that culminated in the teenager dismissing Marcus Harris (20) with a fearsome bouncer that caught the left-hander’s edge. He finished with figures of 1-21 in the match.
That said, Naseem was struck by a personal tragedy – the death of his mother – but after speaking to his family, he turned up and could be gearing for what could be the biggest moment of his cricket career.
“He spoke to his family and they said ‘this is where your mum would have wanted you to be’,” Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan told the Sydney Morning Herald on why Naseem opted to remain in Australia.
“Everyone has rallied around him, keeping a close eye on him, making sure he’s okay. He’s got a few confidantes in the team that he can go to if he’s feeling low or not feeling great. He wanted to stick it out.”