The controversy over Naseem Shah's age hasn't fully died down. Now, the right-arm pacer's childhood coach has entered the debate and claimed that the young man has undergone bone tests, conducted by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which have certified that he is actually 16-years old.
"He has undergone PCB-conducted bones tests and a panel of doctors had also confirmed his age," Naseem's former coach Suleiman Qadir said. "Yes, in the past I do agree that in the absence of birth-certificates the age of certain cricketers were questioned. But in the case of Naseem Shah, he already has a birth certificate and a smart card. In our country Smart Card becomes a National Identity Card when a person crosses 18 and Naseem is still holding the Smart Card," he added.
Qadir also brushed aside the comments by West Indies fast bowling legend Andy Roberts in 2016 where he, apparently, describes Naseem as a 16-year old boy. "Andy Roberts is not Naseem Shah's father. I can guarantee you that he is 16 years of age. He came to our academy some 4 years ago and was twelve then," Naseem's former coach told Asian Age.
The controversy over Naseem Shah's age erupted after the picture of an article published in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn in 2016 surfaced on Twitter. In it, Andy Roberts talks about his visit to Karachi Sports Foundation (KSF), as part of a reality TV show, and being impressed with a 16-year old bowler called Naseem.
"I must say that I very much liked a young fast bowler by the name of Nasim. He is just 16-year old. I am sorry I did not have at least two-three weeks' time to work with him," Sir Andy had stated.
A tweet from Pakistani cricket journalist Saj Sadiq from December 2018 where he refers to Naseem as 17-year old was also dug out. This led to a lot of comments on Twitter including one from former India international Mohammad Kaif. PCB refuted the charges.
Naseem impressed everyone with his bowling in the first Test of the 2-Test series against Australia, in Brisbane. Though he didn't have much success, the young seamer was able to generate speeds of over 145 kph. He dismissed David Warner in Australia's first innings to get his maiden wicket in international cricket.
Age fraud has been a major bane for Pakistan cricket. The most famous example of this phenomenon is former all-rounder Shahid Afridi who accepted in his autobiography that he is older than what his official age while playing cricket was.