Did PCB pull Naseem Shah out of the U19 World Cup squad to avoid another age-fudging controversy?

Did PCB pull Naseem Shah out of the U19 World Cup squad to avoid another age-fudging controversy?

Pakistan, the 2004 and 2006 U-19 World Cup champions, are slotted in Group-C and will kickstart their campaign against Scotland on January 19.

Naseem Shah
Naseem Shah. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Pakistan’s latest ‘teenage’ sensation Naseem Shah has been hogging all the headlines not only for his precocious talent but also for the contention around his age. Shah, who is allegedly 16 years of age, made his debut during the tour of Australia back in November, this past year. While the youngster impressed with his action and his overall talent, questions were raised in the international media on the fact that he is 16-year-old.

The PCB had categorically denied the apprehension on the part of the international media. But, it has now emerged that the cricket board may have pulled Shah out of the ICC U19 World Cup squad to avoid any fresh controversy over his age.

After having been originally named in the U19 World Cup squad, set to take place in South Africa from January 17 to February 09, the PCB, in a press release, had announced that Mohammad Wasim Jnr will be replacing the ’16-year-old’.

PCB had lodged an investigation into Naseem Shah’s age

The contention around Shah’s age had intensified after a December 2018 tweet by renowned Pakistan journalist Saj Sadiq had surfaced where he had written “Highly rated 17-year-old pace bowler Nasim Shah who was signed by Quetta Gladiators for the Pakistan Super League has suffered a back injury. He is back in training and hopes to be fit for PSL4 #Cricket #PSL4.”

However, according to a report in Pakistan’s leading daily- The Dawn- the PCB had started the investigation into Naseem’s age following the questions raised by the International media in Australia.

“Sources said that PCB’s doctors in their reports could not ascertain Shah’s exact date of birth because they are of the view that no reliable scientific way is available to determine that while no international sporting bodies recognizes bone test as the authentic parameter to decide any player’s age,” reported the Dawn.

“An official of the junior team’s management on the condition of anonymity told Dawn that Nasim’s presence in the team would have been more beneficial for Pakistan to win the tournament. But he said senior team head coach Misbah and bowling coach Waqar preferred to work with him at home before the home series against Bangladesh, although currently, it was in doldrums,” it added.

However, another source said that it was just a routine practice to conduct an inquiry into Naseem’s age. Meanwhile, Pakistan, the 2004 and 2006 U-19 World Cup champions, are slotted in Group-C and will kickstart their campaign against Scotland on January 19.

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