posted on 2018-10-15 21:53:51
posted by Sahil Jain
Image Courtesy: YouTube
There is something about Pakistan cricket and fast bowlers. There’s a production line that never seems to cease. Right from their early years in international cricket, they’ve always had some world-class fast bowlers. Sarfraz Nawaz, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar and many more dominated world cricket in their respective generations.
Sarfraz Nawaz is often cited as the inventor of reverse swing and had an excellent impact on the game. Imran Khan is a role-model for every budding cricketer today. Wasim and Waqar terrorised batting line-ups during their time. Shoaib Akhtar was just fast and furious. He holds the record for the fastest ball bowled in the history of the game.
Every now and then, we see a young pacer from Pakistan come to the fore and hog the limelight. A pacer who can run in, bowl fast and trouble/terrorize the batsmen. The current lot often is the talking point in world cricket and very recently, an 18-year-old left-arm pacer hogged the headlines. Shaheen Afridi burst onto the scene and there was a lot of buzz around him. He played the Under-19 World Cup and then recently went on to make his international debut and has impressed everyone with his talent and ability.
However, there is one more lad who has become a talking point in recent times; a teenage fast bowler in Pakistan domestic cricket who is giving batsmen some cacophonous chin music.
While most 15-year-olds might be busy preparing for the tenth-grade board exams, here is one rare guy, a 15-year-old right-arm pacer Naseem Shah, who is wreaking havoc in Pakistan domestic cricket. He has represented Pakistan and his state (Peshawar) at the Under-16 level.
This young lad has an action that resembles former New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond. He has a nice, swift run-up and then he falls back a touch in his delivery stride with a slight jump before releasing the ball with a nice and clean front-on action. He has the ability to move the ball prodigiously both ways, a vicious bouncer and a very good yorker as well.
This 15-year-old made his first-class debut a few days back and had a dream outing. He made the batsmen hop and jump around, beat the outside edge, the inside edge, had the batsmen ducking and knocked the stumps over on a few occasions. Playing for Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the Peshawar pacer took 7 wickets in both innings combined against Pakistan Television in a Pool B match.
In the first innings, he was his team’s fifth bowler to be used and he bowled just 4 overs but returned with impressive figures (4-3-5-1). It was in the second innings that he showed what he is capable of. He bowled 20 overs where he gave away 59 runs but also grabbed 6 wickets.
Naseem showcased his full repertoire of deliveries as he troubled most batsmen with his pace, bounce and swing. The Peshawar-born also featured in Pakistan’s Under-16 squads. He played against Australia Under-16 in Dubai and also made a trip down under with the national under-16 team last year. He also played the ACC Under-19 Asia Cup this year.
This teenage sensation looks a very promising prospect, he has a lot of variations and has shown good control as well. He has got most things intact and has the ability any fast bowler dreams of at a very young age.
Yes, it’s a tad early to get excited but Naseem has made the cricketing world sit up and take notice. Remember, he is just 15 and he has terrorised a few batsmen already! It will be important for Pakistan cricket to nurture him, take proper care and manage him well. He has raw pace, can move the ball prodigiously and moreover, looks lethal.
“You have to be mad to be a fast bowler,” one of the fastest bowlers to have ever played the game, Shoaib Akhtar had once said in an interview with ESPNCricinfo. Naseem Shah seems to have that madness.
Watch out world cricket, maybe in a few years, this lad might just be a dominant force. Remember the name, Naseem Shah!