Naseem Shah made his debut as a 16-year-old during the Brisbane Test against Australia. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Naseem Shah's international journey as a cricketer has already become a roller-coaster journey. After accusations of age-fudging, Naseem made his Test debut where he bowled 20 overs but struggled for control and penetration as he ended with just one wicket. Naseem got the wicket of David Warner off a no-ball and although he got his wicket again, Warner had scored 150. His omission from the Day-Night Test in Adelaide raised questions. After arriving back in Pakistan, Naseem was selected in the Pakistan squad for the upcoming Under-19 World Cup which will be held in South Africa.
However, there is confusion now regarding his selection in the Under-19 squad. Naseem has been selected in the national team for the upcoming two-Test series against Sri Lanka which will be part of the ICC World Test Championships. There are reports that he might be selected for the series against Bangladesh in January that is also part of the Championship cycle but it will also coincide with the Under-19 World Cup. According to a source in the Pakistan Cricket Board, Naseem cannot play in both the senior and junior squads at the same time.
"Two reserve pacers have already been named in the camp and if Naseem is required for national duty he will be replaced as he can’t play for both the senior and junior teams," the source said.
The head coach of the Pakistan juniors Ijaz Ahmed confirmed that he has asked chief selector and national bowling coach Waqar Younis to release Naseem from the senior outfit for the youth World Cup. Ijaz, the former Test captain, who recently guided the Pakistan Emerging side to the Asian Emerging Nations Cup title said once Naseem joined the junior team the pace attack would look very menacing.
"Like I said before he will be our main weapon in the mega event and I want him to join the training camp with the junior players at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. Naseem will add a lot of potency to our attack as we have some other very good young pace bowlers and spinners," Ijaz remarked.
Test cricket returns to Pakistan after 10 years with Sri Lanka playing two Tests in Rawalpindi and Karachi. In 2009, international teams stopped touring Pakistan after the Sri Lankan cricket team was targeted by terrorists in Lahore. After several tours by teams like Zimbabwe, West Indies, ICC World XI and recently the Sri Lankan team, the improving security situation has led to the return of Test cricket in the country.