Former Pakistan pacer Umar Gul has praised the duo of Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi and backed them for their performances against Sri Lanka and Australia recently.
Both the young pacers of Pakistan bowled splendidly well and Umar Gul couldn’t resist acknowledging their talent.
“Shaheen and Naseem are really impressive and did well in recent times for Pakistan. If they keep working hard and we allow them to develop well, they can do wonders for the country. However, it is important not to compare them with iconic bowlers of past as these are budding cricketers” Umar Gul.
The duo of Naseem and Shaheen is becoming a deadly combination and the former pacer of Pakistan also wants the public and the selectors to be patient with the young pacers.
We have been talking about many current and former great fast bowlers of Pakistan and at the same time, it is also necessary to acknowledge the fact that the men in green hold a very bright future as well in the pace bowling department.
From Fazal Mehmood to Sarfraz Nawaz and from Imran Khan to Shoaib Akhtar, the legacy of fast bowlers in Pakistan is overwhelming and it is very heartening to see the young pace bowlers of the country making all the efforts to continue the same legacy.
In recent years, the Pakistan Cricket team tried so many young and budding fast bowlers across different formats. After the ban of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif in 2010, a plethora of fast bowlers was tried in both limited-overs cricket and in the longer formats as well.
The Pakistan Super League (PSL) also played a vital role in bringing the young fast bowlers to the mainstream platforms and in polishing their skills. However, very few fast bowlers have been able to sustain a permanent place in the side and some of them are nowhere to be seen as of now.
Shaheen Shah Afridi:
In the ICC U-19 World Cup in 2018, a young fast bowler from FATA impressed everyone with his high-arm smooth action and accuracy with the bowl.
Shaheen Shah Afridi grabbed the attention of the critics with his tailor-made physique for a fast bowler. The young man went on to bowl a breath-taking spell of 8 wickets in his very first first-class match.
He was drafted in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Lahore Qalandars as an emerging player and he amazed everyone with his performance in his debut PSL season.
He also went on to take a five-wicket haul against the Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2018. Shaheen Shah Afridi was fast-tracked into the national side for the T20I series against West Indies at home.
Since then, the paceman has only improved his performance and at a very young age, he has become an automatic choice for Pakistan in every single format.
Another teenage pace-sensation was unearthed when the videos of his fiery bouncers went viral on the internet.
The 16-year old Naseem Shah was too raw to be considered for national selection but the boy made huge strides in the local tournaments and bowled extremely quickly for his age. Naseem Shah was picked in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) by Quetta Gladiators but he couldn’t take part in the tournament due to a back injury.
A couple of months back, the young paceman made a terrific comeback to the domestic circuit of Pakistan and once again, he was the talk of the town. With a five wicket-haul in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2019, Naseem Shah rang the alarm bells once again for the senior bowlers in the squad.
Surprisingly, the 16-year old pacer was picked in the Test squad for Australia tour and he became the youngest fast bowler to make a Test debut for Pakistan in Australia. Although Naseem’s initial performance against Australia wasn’t satisfactory, the young paceman did leave a mark with his lethal bouncers and consistent pace.
He was retained for the home series against Sri Lanka in December 2019 and the young pacer took the opportunity with both hands and bowled splendidly well against the Islanders.
He also took a five-wicket haul in the last Test match at the National Stadium Karachi to register his maiden five-for in Test matches.
Both Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi are becoming the backbone of Pakistan’s pace department and the future seems to be in safe hands as well as the legacy of Pakistani pacers.