Young Pakistan fast bowler Naseem Shah had quite an eventful T20I debut on Sunday, against India in Dubai. Naseem, who has 13 Tests and 3 ODI-experience under his belt, but this was his first taste of an India-Pakistan encounter and the immense pressure that comes with it.
Naseem Shah delivered a large-hearted bowling performance, figures of 2/27 in 4 overs while bowling his last over hobbling on one leg.
Naseem Shah breathed fire with the ball to keep Pakistani alive
To add to that pressure, Shah was also leading his side’s pace bowling attack in the absence of senior-pro Shaheen Afridi, who has been ruled out of the tournament due to a knee injury.
But, there were no jitters from Naseem who took the new ball in the absence of Shaheen. The 19-year-old youngster steamed in hard and on his second ball knocked over India opener KL Rahul for a golden duck, the batsman chopping onto his sticks. Naseem, and the Pakistani crowd were up and away.
Two balls later, Naseem could have had the big fish of Virat Kohli, having induced a thick outside edge after lulling Kohli into an expansive cover drive. However, Fakhar Zaman dropped a catch at second slip, the sort of ones you’d expect to be taken at this level.
In his first two overs, Naseem conceded only 8 runs and took one wicket, giving Pakistan a desired start in their defence of a par total of 147.
Naseem came back in the 15th over, and straightaway on the second ball, knocked over Suryakumar Yadav’s off-stump as the batter failed to connect his slog, breaking the 36-run stand between Yadav and Jadeja.
However, during his last over, the 17th, the heat and humidity of Dubai got to the youngster and he was seen cramping and certainly not at his best.
Naseem Shah shows great courage to bowl while struggling with cramps
On the 4th ball of the 17th, the pacer even had Jadeja lbw but the decision was overturned as the ball had pitched outside leg. While appealing Naseem even hobbled and went to the ground due to the excessive cramps but kept on appealing until the umpire raised his finger.
Showing great courage and tenacity, Naseem stood up and bowled the last two balls of the over, he was smoked for six down the ground by Jadeja but the last ball was a well-directed bouncer that Jadeja couldn’t hit.
After completing his spell, Naseem clearly was in extreme pain and was in no way going to stay for the fielding. While walking back he could be seen wiping out his sweat and tears and getting emotional after delivering an emphatic performance.
A couple of videos of Naseem have gone viral on social media:
Pakistan lost the match but this man won Our Hearts
Naseem shah brilliant bowling pic.twitter.com/gQDnqcmXEd
— hs memOn Aruba’s (@hs_memOn008) August 29, 2022
Naseem Shah going out after his final over. pic.twitter.com/2FMfG2MjAf
— Taimoor Zaman (@taimoorze) August 29, 2022
The youngster’s efforts went in vain as Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja won India the game in the last over. But Naseem Shah won millions of hearts with his determined performance on Sunday.