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Naseem Shah withdrawn from Pakistan U19 World Cup squad

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Naseem Shah, the 16-year-old fast bowler, has been withdrawn from Pakistan’s 15-man squad for the upcoming ICC U19 World Cup. The Pakistan Cricket Board said that it’s taking a ‘pragmatic’ step to include another youngster, instead of the recent Test debutant.

The junior selection panel slotted in Mohammed Wasim Jr as Naseem’s replacement for the tournament, set to begin in South Africa on January 17.

In a statement, PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said: “The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup is a stepping stone for future stars and a platform for budding youngsters to graduate to international cricket. Naseem has recently broken that glass ceiling and has established his credentials as an international cricketer.

“As such, the PCB has taken a pragmatic approach and decided to withdraw him from next year’s competition to provide this opportunity to another promising cricketer so that he can show his mettle and potential at a global stage.”

Naseem has already featured in three Tests, becoming the youngest ever to claim a Test five-wicket haul last month, when he took 5-31 against Sri Lanka in Karachi. His eye-catching, bustling pace has been good in patches, which had made him one of the most anticipated attractions of the U19 event in South Africa.

Naseem’s trip to Australia divided opinion in Pakistan; some, including Shoaib Akhtar, urged the management to give him the “freedom to bowl the fastest pace possible”, while others, such as Aaqib Javed, insisted that it would be disastrous if young pacers like Naseem misfire on unfamiliar tracks in Australia.

Now, Naseem will remain in Pakistan to fine-tune his skills under bowling coach Waqar Younis, and focus on the upcoming home series against Bangladesh.

“This should not deter Pakistan’s chances at next year’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup as the selectors have picked a side that is experienced and bubbling with confidence to perform strongly,” Wasim said.

Pakistan, winners of the U19 World Cup in back-to-back editions in 2004 and 2006, begin their campaign against Scotland on January 19, in Potchefstroom.

Ahead of their departure to South Africa in ten days, the Pakistan U19 side will undergo a preparation camp at the National Cricket Academy, beginning on Wednesday, January 10.

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