Pakistan’s senior or Under-19 team? Naseem Shah’s fate still remains undecided

Pakistan can still make changes to their roster till 10th January without having to worry about the approval of ICC.

The participation of Naseem Shah, a sixteen-year-old prodigy, is still uncertain as the senior team management is unwilling to release him for under-19 team. On the other hand, the junior team management wants him available for the World Cup, as planned originally.

The Under-19 team is waiting for Shah, since he was also named in the squad on 6th December after making his Test debut against Australia last month. He is expected to join his teammates, who are at a preparatory camp in Lahore since 25th November.

The problem right now is that the senior team will be playing a match against Bangladesh, but this isn’t confirmed yet as the visitors aren’t keen on playing Test cricket in Pakistan. If the Test matches, the only format Shah has played so far at the international stage, are held, then they must be scheduled in early February.

Meanwhile, the last T20I against Bangladesh is scheduled for 27th January and the PSL will begin in the third week of February. The Under-19 World Cup will be from 17th January 2020 to 10th February 2020.

“If it’s not Tests and only T20IS against Bangladesh, then I think they [the senior team] have plenty of options to pick from and can easily release Naseem”, Pakistan Under-19 head coach, IJAZ AHMED said. 

“I don’t mind if they play him against Bangladesh in Tests, but if the series isn’t happening, then I would very much want Naseem in the squad for the World Cup,” he added.

“He is important not just because he played Test cricket, but   he was always the first-choice bowler for us in the World Cup. He was named in the squad and even the PCB chairman had cleared him.  Having him in the squad will give our squad a major boost and the hype having him around us will give other boys a motivation”

“I had requested Misbah [ul-Haq to release him if he is not playing the Tests against Bangladesh] and he, too, understands the importance of the World Cup and we are in discussions to sort this out once and for all. But if this isn’t going according to the plan, then we have reserve players on the bench who are with us from the last 25 days and are very much a part of our preparations. I do have a plan B, but if it’s not Tests and only T20I against Bangladesh, then I think they [the senior team] have plenty of options to pick from and can easily release Naseem”, the coach further added.

Pakistan can still make changes to their roster until the 10th of January without having to worry about the approval of the ICC. After that, replacements can only be made on fitness grounds and will need approval from the ICC’s event technical committee.

What are your views on this? Share in the comments section below.

  • It is better for Naseem’s development to play the U19 WC instead of playing against Bangladesh.


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