Naseem Shah will become the youngest player to make a Test debut in Australia after Pakistan captain Azhar Ali confirmed the 16-year-old fast bowler would be included in the tourists’ team for the first Test starting on Thursday at the Gabba.
The anticipated appearance of the teenager against Tim Paine’s team shapes as a fascinating element of the opening match of the two-Test series, with no younger player having ever featured in Test cricket against Australia.
“We are definitely looking to play him,” Azhar said. “He’s bowling really well. We’ll announce the side tomorrow but he’s definitely going to be part of it.
“Not many players can reach that standard so early but there are exceptions and he’s one of them. We are all looking forward to him having a very successful career. When I saw him first I was so surprised … the control he had, the pace he had and on top of it all the temperament and the composure when he bowls is so exciting to see.”
Paine said: “I played against a few [16-year-olds] last week in club cricket. Certainly at Test level it’s a bit unusual but by the looks of him he looks a really exciting talent. Pakistan have got a knack of finding these young fast bowlers. He looks like another one that’s going to add to that rich history of fast bowlers they seem to produce.”