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Watch: ‘I think you could be playing first-class cricket by 15’ – Unearthed footage shows Shane Warne heap praise on young Rehan Ahmed at Lord’s nets

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Rehan Ahmed is within touching distance of becoming the youngest ever England men’s Test cricketer after he was added to England’s squad for their upcoming tour of Pakistan.

Ahmed has been turning heads for some time. As a 12-year-old net bowler, he dismissed Ben Stokes in an England training session and within four years made his Leicestershire debut in the 2021 Royal London One-Day Cup.

The precocious leg-spinner’s rise has been meteoric. Ahmed, while 17, was a crucial part of the England side that finished as runners-up in this year’s U19 World Cup and was soon signed by Southern Brave for The Hundred.

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Ahmed made his County Championship and T20 Blast debuts in the early stages of the 2022 English summer, enjoying a particularly impressive T20 campaign with Leicestershire, finishing the competition as the leg-spinner with the most wickets. Ahmed, who turned 18 in August, went on to claim his maiden first-class five-for and score his first first-class hundred later in the summer. His maiden England Lions call-up was soon followed by a first senior England selection.

On the day after his England call-up, videos of a training session he did at Lord’s in September 2017 – when Ahmed was 13 – started to do the rounds on social media. The videos show an even younger Ahmed bowling in front of the game’s greatest leg-spinner. Warne, who claimed 708 Test wickets and was named as one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the 20th Century, died earlier this year at the age of 52.

After Ahmed bowls, Warne is seen approaching the youngster to compliment his bowling and tip him for a big future. In one of the clips, Warne says: “That’s very, very good. Have you got many people talking to you, telling you, ‘Do this, do that? Change your pace, bowl quicker, bowl slower?’ That sort of thing? Don’t listen to them.”

In another clip from the same session, Warne showers praise on Ahmed, saying; “That’s awesome, man. Really, really good. I’m going to keep a close eye on you. I think we’ll be commentating on you very soon. I think you could be playing first-class cricket by the age of 15.”

You can watch the clips below:

 

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