Euro 2020 Special
 

The Youngest Men to Play Test Cricket: The Youngest Teenagers to Represent Their Countries

Sometimes a young talent emerges that is so special that they are fast-tracked to being picked for their countries.

In particular, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India have been more ready to embrace the philosophy of “if you are good enough, you are old enough” than other nations, and the list of the youngest test players of all-time is dominated by names from those countries.

However, youthful potential does not always equal long-term longevity. Whilst one man on the top five list broke multitude records, others faded quickly into relative obscurity.

Here is the current top five list in ascending order.

 

Sachin Tendulkar – India

Tendulkar, who was 16 years and 205 days old when he first played for India, is the exception that proves the rule. He would go to play mote tests and ODIs than any other player and is the leading all-time runs corer in both formats of the game.

A legend of Indian cricket, when India finally won the World Cup in 2011 and he was borne on the shoulders of his team-mates in front of the cheering crowd in Mumbai,  the moment was so iconic that it was named the Sporting Moment of the Decade by the prestigious Laureas Awards in 2020.

 

Aaqib Javed – Pakistan

Javed had the misfortune to play in the same era as two Pakistan great fast bowlers, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, which meant that the seamer never quite got the international recognition that he deserved.

However, the career of the man who made his international debut aged 16 years and 189 days was not without its highlights. They included the 1992 World Cup final against England in Australia when he replaced the injured Younis and excelled, returning figures of 2 – 27 from his ten overs, the most economical bowler on the day on either side.

The previous year playing against India in Sharjah he had taken 7 – 37, which, at the time, was best bowling figures of any player in one day cricket.

 

Mohammad Sharif – Bangladesh

Sharif is the youngest man to have been picked to play test cricket by Bangladesh, making his debut in 2001 at Bulawayo in their tour of Zimbabwe. A fast bowler with the ability to produce reverse swing, he was also a useful lower order batter.

After a reasonable international start, he lost his place in the national side. And then shortly before the 2003 World Cup, he picked up a groin injury which successive operations failed to resolve.

He fought his way back into the Bangladesh national set-up and made the last of his 10 test appearances in 2007 against Sri Lanka. But the following year, he joined the rebel ICL and was given a 10-year ban by the BCB.

 

Mushtaq Mohammad – Pakistan

Mohammad not only had the distinction of making his first test appearance for Pakistan aged just 15 years and 124 days old,  but in 1960 playing against India, he became the then youngest man to score a test century – a record that would stand for 40 years.

He would go on to score a further nine test centuries and took 79 wickets at an average of 29.22, and he captained his country 19 times as well.

Mohammad played his last international match in 1978, just shy of his 35th birthday, so he had a long stay at the top.

 

Hasan Raza – Pakistan

Raza made history in 1996 when the Pakistan selectors chose him to play against Zimbabwe in Faisalabad. He was only 14 years and 227 days old.

He by no means disgraced himself, scoring 27 including five fours, but back then he was too callow as he was not picked again for another two years and then only for one test against the same opposition.

However, although he was a prolific run-0scorer in first-class cricket, he failed to replicate that form on the international stage where he struggled to produce the fluency and elegance of the stroke player for which he had become renowned.

In the end, he was to play just seven tests over a nine-year period and 16 ODIs where he had an average of less than 19.

Frustrated by his lack of international opportunities, Hasan ended hopes of a recall to Pakistan colours by joining the unofficial Indian Cricket League.

In 2018, he was named in match fixing allegations by an Al-Jazeera television documentary.

There was nearly 38 years between Raza making his debut and when Wilfred Rhodes became the oldest man ever to play test cricket.

 

 

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