March 15, 2024

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Pakistan V England: Rehan Ahmed Could Make Debut in Karachi

3 min read
Pakistan V England Rehan Ahmed Could Make Debut in Karachi

Rehan Ahmed, an 18-year-old leg-spinner, might make his England debut against Pakistan in the third Test.

Ahmed would surpass Brian Close’s 1949 record of being the youngest man to play a Test for England if he is chosen in Karachi on Saturday.

With a 2-0 series advantage already established, England is aiming for a historic clean sweep.

“We’ve been thinking about it,” said captain Ben Stokes. “A wrist spinner is always fun to have.”

Only three first-class games have been played by Leicestershire’s Ahmed, who was a member of the England squad that advanced to the Under-19 World Cup final.

He was first added to the England Lions squad for a warm-up game in Abu Dhabi at the end of November after being named to the group for a training camp in the United Arab Emirates.

Ahmed participated in England’s victories in Rawalpindi and Multan as a replacement fielder.

The majority of the team took a day off on Thursday, so Stokes won’t have a chance to see the National Stadium’s conditions until Friday’s practice. England arrived in Karachi on Wednesday.

“We can’t go into too much detail until we have had a look at the wicket,” said Stokes.

“He wasn’t just chosen for the squad because of his talent; we also thought it would give him a chance to play if we felt it was necessary.”

Depending on the situation, Ahmed might take Will Jacks’ place as an all-arounder or a fast bowler. Recalling wicketkeeper Ben Foakes would require changing the composition of the team, so England must decide whether to do so.

Ahmed will be 18 years old and 126 days if he participates. When legendary former England captain Close faced off against New Zealand at Old Trafford more than seven decades ago, he was 18 years and 149 days old.

Ahmed wouldn’t be the youngest player in a Test for England; left-arm spinner Holly Colvin made her debut against Australia in 2005 at the age of 15 years and 336 days.

Ahmed, despite being selected for his bowling, sees himself as more of a batter. In his third first-class game, batting at number five for Leicestershire, he scored a century.

“He loves cricket,” said Stokes. “I’m having trouble figuring out whether he’s a batter or a leg-spinner, which is, I suppose, good because it demonstrates how much talent he has.

“It’s important to keep in mind that he is still a young man and to not get overexcited by his potential. Even when something is exciting, you still need to develop talent.”

If Ahmed does play, he will be the first non-white player to represent England in a Test match since Stokes took over nine games ago.

On Tuesday, former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq made his second appearance in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee and said “cricket is in denial” over racism.

“I have always felt cricket is a very inclusive sport,” said Stokes. “You have undoubtedly been chosen for the England team during my time there based primarily on your abilities as a cricket player.

“Regardless of your beliefs or how you look, that should continue to be the direction we go. You’ll be chosen if you are deserving of the opportunity to represent this nation.

“Rehan might serve as an incredible role model for younger children who want to succeed. They may have heard about the recent events in cricket, but he can be seen as an example of why they shouldn’t think, “No, we’ve got this 18-year-old, hopefully, a potential superstar, why can’t I be that?”‘.”


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