‘He’s half my age’- Steve Smith eager to face Naseem Shah at The Gabba

Shah hasn't gotten the chance of bowling to ICC's number one Test batsman last year.

Shah hasn't gotten the chance of bowling to ICC's number one Test batsman last year.
Australia’s Steve Smith. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Pakistan roped in quite a few faces for the Australia tour and one of them was a 16-year-old kid in Naseem Shah. The speedster got his maiden Test call-up and made his debut in the opening match at The Gabba in Brisbane. Prior to that, he underwent a personal tragedy, losing his mother, but he showed grit and determination, drawing praises from the cricketing fraternity.

The Aussies have played 87 overs, but Shah is yet to bowl to Steve Smith, who is deemed as second to Sir Donald Bradman, given his current form. Smith is ICC’s number-one ranked Test batsman. Shah cranked up the pace and bowled 16 overs in which he conceded 65 runs  without any reward on Day 1. Meanwhile, Smith expressed his eagerness to face someone, who’s ‘half his age’.

He’s obviously got some skill: Steve Smith

“He’s half my age. It’ll be interesting … 16 is young,” Smith was quoted as saying by the reporters ahead of the encounter. Coming into the series, Shah played only seven first class matches where he picked up 27 wickets. His best match figures of 9/111 came versus Sindh in Faisalabad while representing Central Punjab.

Smith don’t wish to undermine him and reckons that he has the skills to be successful. “I dare say you’d be pretty nervous at 16 playing a Test match, particularly away from home. He’s obviously got some skill if they’re picking him and you don’t take anyone lightly,” Smith added.

Talking about the tactics to stop Naseem Shah from spitting venom, Smith said: “For us we’ll be trying to get as many overs into him as possible and trying to wear him down. He wouldn’t be used to bowling lots and lots of overs, so that’ll be the plan.”

Shah was a bit on the unlucky side. After David Warner scored a half-century, the pacer found the batter’s inside edge to be caught by Mohammad Rizwan. But a no-ball robbed him off his maiden Test wicket. Warner went on to stay unbeaten on 151 off 265 balls.

As far as the game is concerned, the Aussies are leading by 72 runs with nine wickets remaining in their first innings. Along with Warner is Marnus Labuschagne, who has 55 runs off 94 balls with six boundaries.

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