Pacer Naseem Shah (Photo/Pakistan Cricket Twitter)

London [UK], Dec 25 : Ahead of the U19 cricketing pinnacle, Pakistan U19 head coach Ijaz Ahmed wants Naseem Shah to join the squad as he is the first-choice bowler for the side.

“He is important not just because he played Test cricket, but he was always the first-choice bowler for us in the World Cup. He was named in the squad and even the PCB chairman had given clearance on his name. Having him in the squad will give our squad a major boost and having him around us will give other boys a motivation,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Ahmed as saying.

Shah became the youngest player to Test debut in Australia and had already played three Test matches for Pakistan.

In the latest Test against Sri Lanka, the pacer managed to pick up a five-wicket haul. As a result, he became the youngest fast bowler in the history of the sport to bag a five-wicket haul.

Pakistan had proposed Bangladesh to play Test cricket in the nation but the approval is awaiting from the Bangladeshi government citing security concerns.

“I don’t mind if they play him against Bangladesh in Tests, but if the series isn’t happening, then I would very much want Naseem in the squad for the World Cup,” Ahmed said.

The coach has requested head coach and chief selector Misbah ul-Haq to release Shah from the national team and if things did not go as planned then the side will test the bench strength.

“I had requested Misbah [ul-Haq to release him if he is not playing the Tests against Bangladesh] and he, too, understands the importance of the World Cup and we are in discussion to sort this out once and for all. But if this isn’t going according to the plan, then we have reserve players on the bench who are with us from the last 25 days and very much part of our preparations,” Ahmed said.

Earlier, Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has said that young pacer Naseem Shah should not be sent to play the upcoming U-19 World Cup as the cricketer has already gained experience in international cricket.

The all-rounder also advised Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to manage the pacer better so that he gets better at the international level.

“Humble suggestion 2 Junior selection committee not 2 send Naseem shah to play under 19 world cup. He already played international cricket & should work hard Technically & Physically to get better at that level. It would be fruitful to use this opportunity to send any other fast bowler,” Hafeez has tweeted.

Pakistan is placed in Group C of the 16-team event and will play Scotland in their opening match on January 19.


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