Pakistan has taken a huge gamble with the squad they have chosen for the Australia tour for both T20Is and Test matches. They have picked a couple of teenage fast bowlers in 16-year-old Naseem Shah and 18-year-old Musa Khan in the squad that will face perhaps the most dangerous team at home in the Kangaroos and it remains to be seen how the two fare at the highest level.
Pakistan churning out these young fast bowlers has become a norm from the days of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Aaqib Javed, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Sami and now Naseem Shah and Musa Khan to name a few. However, there has always been questions raised over the real age of these bowlers, given that they are born in rural areas with no proper record of their birthdate and time. Even Shahid Afridi mentioned that he wasn’t really 16 when he scored that 37-ball ODI century and has kept everyone guessing.
Chatters about my age doesn’t bother me, says Naseem Shah
Naseem Shah has been also getting questions about whether he is really 16 or not. Over 100 days away from his 17th birthday, Naseem is an exciting inclusion in the Men in Green Test squad for Australia. “I do not have any pressure from the fact that my age gets discussed so much. I do not think about my age. I only think of performing at the highest level. I am grateful to God that I am getting the chance to represent Pakistan at this age. This time though, I will work harder than usual so I could avail this chance,” Naseem was quoted as saying in a media session on Saturday.
Shah has been terrific in the ongoing domestic competition, the Quaid-E-Azam Trophy as he picked nine wickets for Central Punjab against Sindh earlier this week in the drawn match. Naseem, who will be leaving for Australia shortly, also spoke about his first opportunity to bowling to the likes of Steve Smith and David Warner.
“It’s not that just the wickets of David Warner and Steve Smith are important. A bowler has to work hard for all the wickets and every wicket is important for him. [As a bowler] you only focus on bowling well,” he added.
However, former captain Ramiz Raja had questioned the inclusion of youngsters on such an important tour down under. He questioned on what basis both Naseem and Musa were selected and also said that the team cannot base a whole bowling attack on teenagers on such an important tour.
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