Pakistan have included 16-year-old Naseem Shah for the upcoming Under 19 World Cup in South Africa starting next year.
Rohail Nazir will lead the side following his stellar run in the recent ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup. At least four all-rounders have been named in the 15-man squad which includes 14-year-old Mohammad Shahzad.
Shahzad was picked after his impressive run in the three-day Under-16 tournament, where he scored 175 runs in two games and grabbed six wickets.
“Criteria for selection was current performances and meritocracy, and I am pleased it was a consensus decision. These players have been performing up to our expectations and I am hopeful they will carry their good form into the series and produce solid performances,” said chairman junior selection committee, Saleem Jaffar.
"Shahzad is a good package. He can bat in the opening slot and bowl medium pace, so we are also eyeing to give someone a chance who can be a good prospect in future like [Abdul] Razzaq,” he added.
Naseem Shah, who impressed in the pink ball warm-up match against Australia A in Perth, will be assisted by Amir Khan and Tahir Hussain as specialist fast bowlers.
According to reports in Cricinfo few days back, Naseem Shah was released from the Pakistan’s senior team on the request of Under-19 head coach, Ijaz Ahmed.
"I feel he [Shah] for now should only be used in conditions like in New Zealand, England, etc, when needed. For now, we have a very important event coming up in South Africa and he is very handy for me and I will ask Misbah ul-Haq [the chief coach and selector] to release him,” Ijaz said as quoted by Cricinfo.
Pakistan, who were champions in 2004 and 2006 Under 19 World Cups, are placed in Group C alongside Scotland, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. They will begin their campaign against Scotland on January 19 in Potchefstroom. The 16-team competition will kick off from January 17.
Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Haider Ali, Mohammad Shehzad, Mohammad Huraira, Mohammad Irfan Khan, Rohail Nazir (c), Abbas Afridi, Fahad Munir, Qasim Akram, Amir Ali, Arish Ali Khan, Amir Khan, Naseem Shah, Tahir Hussain, Mohammad Haris