The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has hit back at suggestions from some quarters that young pace sensation Naseem Shah is more than 16, his official age. Shah made his debut for Pakistan in the Brisbane Test this week.
Although Pakistan lost the match on Sunday, Naseem Shah stole headlines and hearts with his searing pace – consistently clocking speeds in the mid-140s (kph) – and because of the fact that he was playing for his country days after having lost his mother.
PCB CEO Wasim Khan, who is in Brisbane, told Australian media outlet The Tonk that suggestions Naseem Shah is older than 16 are “absolute rubbish”.
“You only need to look at his face,” he said. “He’s hardly got any growth on his face. In terms of that, people question it no doubt, just because of his age and the fact that he’s a mature lad and the fact he’s playing international cricket at this age. But the bottom line is he’s 16 years old and he’s playing. We don’t really care what India think.”
A lot has been made of Naseem Shah’s young age. Steve Smith had remarked before the Test that Naseem was someone half his age and that this was something Australia would look to exploit against him.
Former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif said in a tweet this week that Naseem Shah seems to be “aging backward”. Some fans have also cited an old article from 2016, in which West Indies great Andy Roberts is quoted to have talked of an exciting 16-year-old pace bowling talent from Pakistan who had just been spotted – incidentally called Naseem Shah.