Hasan Raza welcomes introduction of minimum age restriction for players
Records (in cricket) are meant to be broken but former Pakistani batsman Hasan Raza’s record of being the youngest Test player will not break now.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced 15 years as the minimum age to become an international cricketer which will enable former Pakistani batsman Hasan Raza to continue to hold the record.
Raza was 14 y 227 days old when he was picked to play against Zimbabwe at Faisalabad on 24th October 1996.
“The ICC has done the right thing. This I am not telling because my record is intact but I believe players only become mentally strong and matured after fifteen years of age. It is good from a safety point of view also that the players play when they are matured,” Hasan Raza, speaking exclusively over the telephone from Islamabad, said on Sunday morning.
“When I was playing for Pakistan, Windies’ fast bowler Courtney Walsh with 400 Test wickets was also playing. He was really fast and it was very difficult for a young batsman to face him.” Raza faced him in the ODIs.
“Yes, I was invited to make my debut early. This was because my performance in the school drew the attention of the selectors. Wasim Akram was my first Test captain and the Test cap to me was awarded by Mushtaq Mohammad, whose record (15 y 124 days) only I broke 38 years later.”
Raza, 38 now, is running a cricket academy in Islamabad. “My aim is to make young cricketers for our country and I am fully devoted to it,” he added.
Hasan Raza is aware about the fact that few Pakistani players have faced controversy in their real age. “This is because there was no age proof and certificates in earlier days. Now we all have National Identity Cards.”
In the meantime, India’s renowned cricket statistician Mohandas Menon has provided the names of the following players, who played T20s at a very young age.
In Women’s cricket: Nia Greig of Jersey Women was just 11y-40d when she made her T20I debut vs France Women at Nantes on 31 Jul 2019.
In Men’s cricket: Marian Gherasim of Romania was 14y-16d when he made his T20I debut vs Bulgaria at Ilfov County on 16 Oct 2020.