Rehan Ahmed is very young. He will be too young to play a Test for England if he plays against Pakistan in December. But the 18-year-old leg-spinner has already done a lot in his career so far, including several top wickets.
Ahmed – who was included in the Test squad on Wednesday after performing well at a training camp in the UAE – was first used by England as a net bowler aged 11 and returned almost a year later when he turned 13. Ben Stokes and former captains Joe Root and Sir Alastair Cook were prominent on the skin.
“I caught Root at extra cover, Stokes was dismissed and so was Cook,” Ahmed said Sky Sports in February. “I was playing international cricket and bowling well. That’s when I thought, ‘I want to play cricket for a living.’
Ahmed came to the fore earlier this year when, at the tender age of 17, he took 12 wickets in the Under-19 World Cup in the Caribbean as England reached their first final since 1998.
The semi-final against Afghanistan looked to be getting away from them as their opponents managed just 23 from 18 balls but Ahmed’s follow-up haul of three wickets in five games and just one run allowed the game to go back to England.
Three months later, Ahmed made his first-class T20 debut for Leicestershire. His summer peaked, first with a Southern Brave display in The Hundred and then scoring a century and taking five wickets in the same match, Leicestershire against Derbyshire in the County Championship.
But all those achievements will be overshadowed if he makes his England bow in Rawalpindi, Multan or Karachi next month and surpasses Brian Close as the youngest to wear the whites of the Test. If they have, they will have done so after playing just three games. He could also line up alongside James Anderson, who played Test cricket before Ahmed was born.
England Test coach Brendon McCullum had this to say about Ahmed after watching him closely at the Emirates: “We know it’s not the end of the story and he’s got more energy but Stokes, myself and all the other coaches like his game. to be part of the The Pakistan team will be very beneficial for him, and he will add to the formation of our team.”
England cricket chief Rob Key said Sky Sports news: “He’s got a lot of potential. He’s one of those guys who has a lot of talent and a passion for the game. It’s great to see that contagious passion.
“He has been part of our plans. We wanted to take him slowly and we feel that this is the best way for him to develop. It is good for the team that you can bring a boy of that age. and we think that it helps his growth.”
Nasser Hussain always used to say that you should choose character and not numbers and that seems to be more McCullum, Key and Stokes’ approach, so it is not surprising that they will take the light of Ahmed.
His bowling figures for the England Lions against the senior team were not just for the record – 0-73 from over eight overs – but the “potential” of the aforementioned McCullum and Key seems to have been recognised. He showed it with the bat a day after being called up and hit two sixes and four fours in a brilliant 26 off 10 balls.
We want to put him on the path of red ball cricket where he will learn the longest format. If they learn how to dig a bowl this way, you can do anything. It’s trying to put him on this path where we can see the best in him sooner rather than later.
Ahmed said Daily Mail earlier this year that he started exercising because he found it more difficult than moving and he wanted to “do something more difficult”. He said again Sky Sports that he enjoys playing successful bowling in white-ball cricket, not a place where all spinners are comfortable. “I like challenges,” he said.
Listening to Ahmed, he seems wise beyond his years: “Since I was a child, I dreamed of playing in England. [but] the night is a dream, so when I’m awake, I look at what I have and do my work,” he said. Letters interview in July.
The job could be as successful as Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan in Rawalpindi next week, which, even if they stop, would be a leap for someone with such little experience. He has posted 446 runs in his career, less than Jack Leach did in one Test against the West Indies in March.
Ahmed’s rise to the top of the first Test is based on his skill and spirit and the lack of other spinners, with Moeen Ali retiring from Test cricket, white-ball linchpin Adil Rashid looks unlikely to return to red. -Football, Matt Parkinson is coming out and a few others around the county are knocking down the door to get elected.
England’s starting line-up for Pakistan consisted of only one spinner in Leach, Will Jacks, Liam Livingstone and Root as additional options. It’s been a week since the first Test, and it still looks like Jacks or Livingstone will be Leach’s second spinner but it’s not an ironclad guarantee.
Asked if Ahmed had a choice, Key said: “A chance. He’s a long way off at the moment in terms of his development but I don’t have a problem with him playing in the series. He’s got guys ahead of him but he’s got a problem. He’s lucky to have these people and hopefully he’ll start to learn.” quickly.”
We know an England side managed by Stokes and coached by McCullum will not be afraid to make a bold decision. Furthermore, Stokes knows better than most that Ahmed can find good players. Perhaps England will have the youngest ever male cricketer.
Watch England take on Pakistan live on Sky Sports. The first Test, in Rawalpindi, starts at 5am UK on Thursday, December 1 with coverage from 4.30am on Sky Sports Cricket.