Pakistan's teen star Naseem Shah tipped for the top as Test debut looms

By Sports Desk November 20, 2019

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali has high hopes for Naseem Shah as the 16-year-old prepares to make his Test debut against Australia.

Azhar praised the seamer's technical abilities and mental strength after the teenager suffered a personal tragedy following the recent death of his mother.

Although Pakistan's line-up for the clash at the Gabba is yet to be revealed, Azhar confirmed Naseem would be involved and he has high hopes for the youngster.

"Not many players can be at that standard so early but there are exceptions and he is one of them," said the skipper ahead of the two-match series. 

"And hopefully – we are all looking forward to it – he can have a very successful career.

"When I saw him first, I was so surprised. The control he had, the pace he had – and the temperament and the composure when he bowls is so exciting to see."

Naseem, who will become the youngest male Test debutant on Australian soil, played in a warm-up match in the aftermath of his mother's passing and Azhar paid credit to his courage.

"Obviously, it was a hard time for him but he coped with it very nicely and he came out and bowled the very next day, which is very heartening," he said.

"He is opening up a little bit. Obviously, when he came in to first-class cricket, he was a bit shy but now he is starting to enjoy it."

Pakistan have not won a Test match in Australia since 1995 and have never triumphed in a series there in the longest format. 

Related items

  • PCB chairman Mani expects England and Australia to tour Pakistan PCB chairman Mani expects England and Australia to tour Pakistan

    Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani is confident Australia and England will tour the country in the coming years as they prepare for a first Test on home soil since 2009.

    Pakistan face Sri Lanka - the last team to visit over a decade ago - on Wednesday in Rawalpindi, the opener in a two-game series that also includes a Test in Karachi.

    Mani insists Pakistan are not planning to play future series on neutral grounds, with England "very supportive" ahead of a possible tour.

    "We are due to play England in 2021-22 and we are in serious discussions with them about coming to Pakistan," Mani told ESPN Cricinfo.

    "So far, they've been very supportive, so I fully expect they will come and play their cricket in Pakistan. 

    "Similarly, Australia, their chief executive has been to Pakistan and he's gone back with a totally different perception from what he thought it was like."

    Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali, meanwhile, has said the series opener against Sri Lanka is a huge moment for the country.

    "It's a moment to rejoice, not only for the players but the whole Pakistan nation," he said, in quotes reported by Sky Sports.

    "We had a tough series in Australia and the way we lost there was disappointing. Moving forward, we see this home series as an opportunity and advantage to turn things around.

    "We will try our best to fix our mistakes and improve wherever we had been lacking.

    "We have outstanding talent in our squad. They have potential and, if we implement it, results will be good."

  • Stokes confirms he is fit to bowl for England in South Africa Stokes confirms he is fit to bowl for England in South Africa

    Ben Stokes has revealed he should be fit to bowl during England's tour of South Africa after scans confirmed he had not sustained a knee injury.

    Stokes complained of a knee problem during the first day of England's second and final Test against New Zealand in Hamilton,.

    However, he did bowl 25 overs during the Test, which was drawn as England lost the series 1-0.

    The all-rounder - a star of England's Cricket World Cup and Ashes campaigns - has now confirmed he will be fit to bowl against the Proteas, with England's four-Test tour to begin on Boxing Day.

    "It's alright," Stokes told talkSPORT. "I got some scans when we got back [to] England and there's nothing really showing up on the MRI scans, which is good news.

    "I just need to toughen up I guess but it's alright and it's just treatment now. I will be fine to bowl [in South Africa]."

    After a difficult Ashes series and a poor performance with the bat in the first Test in New Zealand, Joe Root returned to form in style in Hamilton, scoring 226 in the first innings, and Stokes claimed he backed the England captain to hit a double century ahead of the tour.

    "Rooty is one of the best players in the world. He obviously went through a little bit of a dip in performance but that is natural, he’s human. The old saying is form is temporary and class is permanent," Stokes added.

    "It's obviously great for English cricket to see Joe go out in his last innings before a big tour and hopefully we can see Rooty scoring runs like he normally does.

    "Being Test captain is one of the toughest jobs and one of the most criticised and how people speak about you is dependent on how well the performances on the pitch individually and as a team.

    "It's unfair most of the time that when things don’t go well the captain gets it all. I actually called Joe to get a double hundred on day one of our first warm-up game to Rory Burns. I think I was stood at slip and I said, 'Joe is going to get a double hundred this tour'."

  • Masood thrilled for Test cricket to return to Pakistan Masood thrilled for Test cricket to return to Pakistan

    Shan Masood is relishing playing on home turf as Pakistan prepare to host their first Test match in over a decade.

    Pakistan welcome Sri Lanka to Rawalpindi on Thursday for the first of two Tests to round off 2019.

    It is the first time a Test will be played in Pakistan since the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked in Lahore in early 2009, with six policemen and two civilians killed.

    Pakistan head into the series on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Australia, but Masood believes a return home has buoyed the entire squad, with every player eager to perform at their best in what he says is a momentous moment for the country.

    "If you look at the best players in Test cricket, their home records are superior to away records," batsman Masood said.

    "You are more familiar with the atmosphere, the pitches, and enjoy crowd support, and that was one thing that was missing from Pakistan cricket.

    "Bringing Test cricket here is our biggest accomplishment. Test cricket as a whole suffered around the world, and in Pakistan, we've dedicated more to white-ball cricket. This is an opportunity for children in Pakistan to have a proper look at Test cricket.

    "They'll look at people like Azhar Ali, who scored a 300 and a double-century in Australia. They'll look at Asad Shafiq, who has scored hundreds all around the world.

    "We've got exciting pacers like Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi. We've got Mohammad Abbas, who has been ranked number one in the world, and Yasir Shah, who has been the number one spinner in the world. Babar Azam is climbing up the Test rankings as well.

    "This is a chance for our young generation to finally watch their heroes and it was unfortunate that legends like Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan couldn't play in their home grounds in the peak of their careers.

    "So I'm really excited, because I feel this will propel Pakistan as a generation and the future generations of this country to take up cricket. It's almost going to be like everyone is making their debuts, because we're all playing in Pakistan for the first time."

    The omens are good for Pakistan, with Sri Lanka having won just one of their last five Test series against them, though they did win 2-0 in their last encounter in 2017.

     

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.