Who are Naseem Shah and Mohammad Musa, the 16 and 19 years old picked by Pakistan for Australia Tour?
Pakistan, as a cricket nation, is known for producing precocious fast bowling talents. Be it Wasim Akram, Mohammad Amir or Shaheen Afridi, young teenagers continue to arrive and impress for Pakistan team. For their upcoming tour of Australia, Pakistan has again decided to show faith in two teenagers – Naseem Shah and Mohammad Musa – the former 16 and latter 19-years old.
So, who are these two new finds of the Pakistani system? Do they possess those great qualities which the likes of Wasim and Amir did? Let's find out more about them.
Just 16 years of age (officially, at least), Naseem rose to prominence by picking up a 6-wicket haul in his debut match of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Pakistan's premier first-class tournament. Due to a back injury, his progress in domestic cricket was interrupted but he now has 5 first-class matches under his belt.
His statistics are certainly impressive from these games. The emerging star has taken 17 wickets at an average of 18.70 and a strike rate of 38.9. These statistics include the above-mentioned 6-wicket haul as well.
In terms of his bowling, Naseem looks like a thoroughbred. He has a smooth run-up and accelerates nicely into the delivery stride. He can bowl at high speeds, around 90 mph and get the ball to bounce awkwardly at the batsman. To complete the full fast-bowling package, he also has the ability to get good away swing. Certainly, an exciting prospect for Pakistan.
Another teenager (again, officially, at least), Musa also possesses genuine talent. Compared to Naseem, Musa has a slightly side-on action. He played and impressed in the under-19 World Cup held last year. One of his fellow seamers from that tournament, Shaheen Afridi, has already established himself at the top level.
Because of his action, Musa gets the ball to move back into the right-handers. He also seems to possess a good yorker. In his seven first-class matches, the 19-years old pacer has picked up 17 wickets. That doesn't seem much. His average of 37.52 and strike rate of 56.4 are also not as impressive as that of Naseem. There is yet to be a five-for in his kitty.
It is clear that while Shah has not only impressed by his appearance but also with his performance, Musa has been picked as per the hunch of coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq. The former captain has seen quality in both the bowlers and hopes they will justify his faith.