Naseem Shah, the teenage Pakistan pace sensation, has warned England players not to underestimate him when they clash in the upcoming Test series.
Naseem, 17, is the latest in Pakistan’s long line of raw pace-bowling talent. He made his Test debut as a 16-year-old last year, and in four Tests overall, he has 13 wickets, including a 5-31 against Sri Lanka in December.
He, along with Shaheen Shah Afridi, is expected to spearhead Pakistan’s young pace attack, but Naseem said if England discount them on the basis of their experience, they do so at their own risk.
“If they treat me like a small kid, it will be their big loss,” he said in a video press conference. “Age doesn’t matter, it’s my bowling that matters – they need to take me seriously.”
Their inexperience will be particularly conspicuous when viewed in contrast to England’s own attack, with Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad being seasoned veterans. However, Naseem’s plan isn’t too complicated.
“Speed matters,” he said. “I will continue to make efforts to attain maximum speed. On top of that, if I succeed in making the ball swing and reverse at that pace, it will definitely put pressure on the batsmen.
Here’s Haider Ali, who’s been named in Pakistan’s squad for the tour of England.
The new Babar?pic.twitter.com/95P66YnwE1
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) June 12, 2020
“I want to emulate the greats of cricket who dismantled many renowned batsmen with their pace and aggression. I want to emerge as [one of] the top three fast bowlers in the world, and I believe there will be no better coach to teach me than Waqar Younis, who himself was one of the best.”
Pakistan, who are expected to leave for England towards the end of June, announced a combined 29-man squad for the tour, for which three Tests and as many T20Is are scheduled for August-September.
The T20I series will begin after the Tests, but with Covid-19 restrictions in place, all the players will stay in England for the course of both the three-match series.