How high can Naseem Shah soar?
Before the start of the Australia vs Pakistan series, there was a lot of conjecture regarding a young fast bowler from Pakistan who had serious pace. Naseem Shah made his debut late last year at the age of 16, and that too against one of the best teams in the world.
In his first over of international cricket he clocked over 150 KMPH, and since then many people have kept an eye on him. He did take a few wickets in Australia but many questioned his selection because it looked premature; the feeling was that he should have been slowly transitioned into the Test arena.
Playing your first series in Australia is like being thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool, but that is also where you learn to swim. Despite a tough series down under, Naseem learnt a lot - and that is visible in the ongoing series against Bangladesh.
On the dead pitches in Pakistan he is getting the ball to talk, and his pace has been electric.
His hat-trick in the Rawalpindi Test was an excellent exhibition of fast bowling. It was proof that whatever your age may be, if you have pace you can succeed at the international level.
Yes, the Bangladesh batting lineup is not as powerful as the Australian one. But this spell will give Naseem a ton of confidence, and he will try to use that to keep his rhythm going against tougher opposition.
16 is a very tender age, but this young boy has all the talent in the world. And while he should be guided by senior players and management and be taken care of properly, he still needs to play cricket in order to improve and succeed.
The hat-trick consisted of two LBWs and one catch at slip, and the batsmen were clearly beaten by raw pace. Naseem's action is smooth and the wrist position is perfect, and as he grows older he will need to make only minor adjustments to ensure that he is at his peak.
For fast bowlers the biggest concern is injuries, and with so much cricket going on these days, the PCB need to ensure that Naseem’s workload is managed appropriately. If that means he has to sit out a few games then so be it, but those matches need to be carefully handpicked. There’s no point in him playing a full PSL tournament and then resting for an international Test.
The boy can bowl, he has an abundance of talent, and if he is managed in the right manner he will win plenty of matches for Pakistan. No matter who you are as a batsman, a bowler with extreme pace will always bother you.Published 10 Feb 2020, 22:41 IST