Indian media questions age of Pakistan’s ‘teen’ sensation
HE IS sweet - but is he really 16?
This is the question the Indian media has raised over the true age of Pakistan fast bowling sensation Naseem Shah.
Shah shocked the cricket world when he made his Test debut against Australia at the Gabba on Thursday at the official age of 16 years and 279 days.
His official record lists his date of birth as February 15, 2003, making him the youngest ever Test debutant in Australia.
But reports from India overnight have suggested there is uncertainty around Shah's true age.
The Print claims Shah may have been as old as 16 when attending a television show cricket camp called Kriket Superstars back in 2016.
A popular Pakistan cricket Twitter account, Saj Sadiq, claimed earlier this month that Shah was 17.
"Lots of chat regarding Naseem Shah around the world. Just for the record, his correct age is 17 not 16," Sadiq tweeted on November 14.
Lots of chat regarding Naseem Shah around the world. Just for the record, his correct age is 17 not 16 #Cricket— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) November 13, 2019
Indian media has an obsession with the ages of Pakistani cricket players, and relations between the countries are frosty at best, with neither missing an opportunity to have a crack at the other.
There has been cases of "age-fudging" in subcontinental cricket before.
Former Pakistan sensation Shahid Afridi is officially listed as being born in 1980, meaning he was supposedly 16 when he scored a record-breaking 37-ball century in 1996.
But Afridi wrote in his recent book that he was born in 1975, making him 21 at the time.
Regardless of his age, Shah made a sizzling start to his Test career by racking up the fastest speeds of any bowler during the match.
Shah hit 147.7kmh in his first over on Friday morning, eclipsing Australian quicks Mitchell Starc (146.5kmh) and Pat Cummins (146kmh).
He hasn't reached the 160kmh the great Shoaib Akhtar, but there is plenty of room for improvement with the young Shah.