The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) made a late announcement to pull Naseem Shah out of the U-19 World Cup squad, which raised quite a few eyebrows.
Previously, it was rumored that PCB wanted to retain Naseem Shah as a national cricket team member but the new information which has come to light suggests otherwise.
The new findings claim that PCB’s decision to pull Naseem Shah out of the squad was most likely related to his age.
When Naseem Shah was selected for the Australia squad, various international media outlets claimed that the young pacer is not 16-years-old.
However, PCB categorically denied all rumors and said that the board relies completely on NADRA’s data and there should be no controversy.
Despite the confirmation from PCB, many ex-players from Australia and Pakistan still expressed their doubts.
According to Dawn, PCB launched an official investigation into the matter after the series against Australia. The media outlet claims that the doctors could not confirm Naseem’s age since there is no scientific way to determine that.
It is worth mentioning that no official sporting body recognizes ‘bone test’ as an official parameter to determine the age of an athlete.
Additionally, former West Indies bowler Andy Robert mentioned that he spotted Naseem Shah back in 2016 in a talent hunt program where he claimed Shah would become a top-class bowler. This means that Shah was probably 16 at that time, which also serves as further proof that age shown by NADRA is likely to be wrong.
Robert, after seeing Shah, said:
I must say that I very much liked a young fast bowler by the name of Nasim. He is just 16-year-old. I am sorry that I did not have at least two, three weeks’ time to work with him.
The media outlet claims that PCB chairman Ehsan Mani remained reluctant to speak on the matter after he was asked about Naseem’s age.
When asked about why an investigation was launched regarding Naseem’s age, the source labeled it as common practice.
The PCB still maintains the front that pulling out Naseem Shah had nothing to do with his age but the fact that senior management wanted him in the national side.
It remains to be seen what sort of findings can the PCB investigation team can come up with and whether the board will make this information public or not.