He is only 16 and reeling from his mother’s death last week, but Pakistan believe express bowling sensation Naseem Shah can be a match-winner in the opening Test against Australia.
The exciting teenager is on the cusp of selection for the game at the Gabba in Brisbane starting Thursday after impressing with a fiery eight-over spell against Australia A in Perth.
If he makes the grade, Naseem will join a handful of others to debut at 16, including Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar.
The youngest-ever Test player listed by Cricinfo was Pakistan’s Hasan Raza in 1996, aged just 14, although his date of birth was later disputed.
“The best thing about Naseem Shah is the control he has on his bowling,” head coach Misbah-ul-Haq told cricket.com.au.
“He has a very good bowling action and knows which deliveries to bowl.”
Naseem is also carrying the huge extra burden of his mother passing away.
“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,” Wasim added. – AFP.
Smith has no problem with short ban for ball-tamperer Pooran
Steve Smith insists he does not feel “hard done by” after the West Indies’ Nicholas Pooran received a four-match ban for ball-tampering compared to the master Australian batsman’s year-long suspension.
The talented Pooran was last week suspended by the International Cricket Council for four Twenty20 internationals for “changing the condition of the ball” in a one-day match against Afghanistan in India.
Smith and David Warner were exiled by Cricket Australia for a year, while Cameron Bancroft was suspended for nine months, for their part in a plot to use sandpaper to alter the ball during a Test against South Africa last year.
Smith said he had no issues with the wide disparity in the punishments.
“Everyone is different, every board is different, and the way they deal with certain issues,” he told reporters ahead of the opening Test against Pakistan in Brisbane this week — his first Test at home since the tampering scandal.
“For me, I copped it on the chin… it is what it is.” – AFP