Pakistan’s star youngster Naseem Shah is widely regarded as one of the most talented fast bowlers in modern cricket. In a short span of time, Naseem, who made his Test debut for Pakistan in 2019, has cemented his place as one of the team’s key players across all formats; He has played 14 Tests and 16 T20Is for the team so far, and was one of Pakistan’s main pace bowlers in the recently concluded T20 World Cup.
However, the 19-year-old fast bowler had the toughest start to his international career in 2019 when, a day before his Pakistan debut, he suffered the loss of his mother. At the age of 16, Naseem weathered tragedy to play for Pakistan against Australia in Brisbane, where he took the wicket of David Warner in the team’s only bowling innings.
Three years later, Naseem told about the incident that shook his life.
“I was very attached to my mother. When I was 12, I left home because of cricket. I shifted to Lahore. When my debut came, she called me a day before and I told her Said, ‘Tomorrow is my debut’. She didn’t watch TV, she didn’t understand cricket. But I told her, ‘You should watch the match tomorrow because I am playing, I will be live on TV.’
She was so happy, she said she would come to Lahore to watch the game. When I woke up, the management came to me and said, ‘Your mother has passed away’, Naseem recalled during an interview with Nasser Hussain for Sky Sports Cricket.
“For the next six to eight months, I struggled a lot. No one cares about what’s going on inside you. I used to have a lot of medicines, mother was seen everywhere. I used to think about him a lot. Whenever you play for Pakistan, everyone expects you to perform. I also had a lot of injuries during that time so it was a tough time. I learned from it though. I am strong now. My (Pakistan) debut was the toughest day of my life. When I am not doing well now, I can handle it because I know how tough it was.