In a recent turn of events, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday has stated that it has withdrawn Naseem Shah from the Under-19 World Cup squad only because of the team management’s request.

Thus, the board dismissed reports that it had held an inquiry after suspecting an alleged age fraud by the pace sensation.

“The factual position is that since the ICC youth World Cup is to be held from this month in South Africa we had all the documents submitted by all the players, and verified again, which is a routine procedure and this included Naseem Shah,” said a PCB spokesman as quoted by PTI.

After the entire procedure, the documents issued by the Pakistan government to Shah have confirmed that the youngster was below 19 and thus was eligible to feature in the Under 19 World Cup beginning in South Africa later this month.

“But the senior team management of Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis felt that since he had already played Test matches it would be best if he is released from the U-19 squad and practices with the senior team for upcoming assignments,” the official said.

Notably, there are several speculations revolving around Shah’s age since the time he was first named in the Pakistan national squad which toured Australia in November-December 2019. The official records claim that Shah’s current age is 16.

There were questions raised over his authentic age even during the course of the tour, but the Pakistan Cricket Board had repeatedly denied such claims.

On Tuesday, it has again insisted that he was not released from the Under-19 squad because of age-fraud.

“He is under 19 as per official documents which are accepted by the ICC and he was only released on the instructions of the senior team head coach and chief selector, Misbah,” he added.

Aged 16 years and 279 days, Naseem had earlier become the youngest Test cricketer to make his debut on Australian soil. Naseem was named in the Playing XI for the first time for the Brisbane Test in the month of November last year.

Shah already has eight wickets in the three Tests he has played for his country.

 

(With inputs from PTI)