On Monday, Pakistan will face off against New Zealand in the deciding Test in Abu Dhabi, with the series deadlocked at 1-1.
While they will be missing star paceman Mohammad Abbas, it may see to the dawn of a new star in Pakistani cricket, with Shaheen Afridi set to make his debut.
Who is he?
At just 18 years of age, Shaheen is not only a novice to international cricket, but professional cricket in general. A tall left-arm quick with pace to burn, Shaheen has played just three first-class matches, and represented Pakistan in six ODIs and seven T20Is.
While he has limited experience on the first-class circuit, he has already made quite the impression. His debut for Khan Research Laboratories in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy last year saw him collect extraordinary figures of 8/39 against Rawalpindi.
How has he fared in international cricket?
Shaheen has taken to the international stage like a duck to water, with 24 wickets across his 13 appearances thus far. In the recent series against New Zealand, he claimed the Player of the Series award, impressing with two four-wicket hauls. For a cricketer of such youth, his maturity when bowling against international batsmen has impressed.
The third Test against New Zealand is bound to be the biggest challenge of Shaheen’s career yet. With the series on the line, Shaheen faces additional pressure due to the fact that he will serve as Abbas’ replacement.
The injured seamer has enjoyed an extraordinary year for Pakistan, picking up 17 wickets in the two-match series against Australia. While he endured a quiet couple of Tests against New Zealand, his nagging accuracy will be missed. Shaheen has very big shoes to fill.
While it is a difficult time to make a debut, Shaheen certainly has the talent to succeed against New Zealand. He left some scars in the ODI series, and will look to build upon that. If their is anything that history has shown us, it is that young Pakistani fast bowlers can be quite the handful.