The prospect of Rehan Ahmed playing at a young age 2022

The prospect of Rehan Ahmed playing at a young age 2022

Following the young Leicestershire leg-spinner’s inclusion in the squad for the forthcoming tour of Pakistan, Rehan Ahmed could break the record for smallest man to play men’s cricket for England.

Ahmed, who is it 18 years and 102 days, would surpass Brian Close (18 years and 149 days against New Zealand in 1949), who held the record, and become the first England player from his county since James Taylor in 2011 if picked for the series of three games starting in Rawalpindi on 1 December.

The decision to call up the player was taken after matchday one of England’s three-day warm-up against the Lions in Abu Dhabi. Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, the team’s captain and manager respectively, were unfazed by Ahmed’s figures of eight overs, none for 73 as the senior bowlers amassed an astonishing 501 for seven from 79 overs.

McCullum, who broke the news to Ahmed over tea, said: ‘We know it’s not the finished thing and it has huge potential. Ben, the other coaches and I appreciate how he plays, though. He will greatly benefit from having had the opportunity to travel with the team to Pakistan and will complete the composition of our team.”

With three first-class matches under his belt, Ahmed was undoubtedly picked on the basis of potential. He recorded a first-class century (122 from 113 balls) and a five wicket haul (five for 114 from 28.2 overs) in a draw against Derbyshire at Grace Road, so his summer ended on a high note .

The Twenty20 franchise circuit has already expressed interest in an England U19 international, who will give Stokes more options. Before being called up, Will Jacks and Liam Livingstone, two all-rounders batting without limits, were the only other front-line spinners on the tour. Jack Leach was the only front-line spinner.

As well as Ahmed’s news, Ollie Pope’s 146 from 120, Zak Crawley’s 96 and Jacks’ 84 from 48 balls, England’s pre-match match at the Sheikh Zayed Complex featured fast bowler Jofra Archer returning after an 18-month injury layoff.

After overcoming stress fractures in his elbow and lower back, Archer is thought to be aiming for a comeback during England’s ODI series in South Africa in January. In his first out after his recovery Archer bowled eight overs, none for 38.

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