Naseem Shah: The courageous speedster

The young fast-bowler gained a spot in the national Test squad for the Australia tour

Naseem Shah: The courageous speedster Photo Courtesy: Cricket Australia

One can only imagine what must be going through the head of the young pacer when he was informed during a practice match that his mother had passed away because of a cardiac arrest. The 16-year-old who no doubt would have been itching for his mother to see him don his country’s shirt must have felt the loneliest he had ever felt in his life.

No longer would the young kid have his mother to care for him. His incoming future fame and wealth would always be insufficient to buy the comforts of the world for his beloved mother. The fact that he couldn’t even see his mother for the last time, because he was representing his country halfway across the world, and could not attend her funeral on time must have crushed the spirits of the young speedster — on the heels of his greatest challenge.

The world of sports is filled with inspiring stories. The players face gut wrenching heartbreaks, tragedies that cause incomprehensible grief and obstacles that would destroy mere mortals. But through these tragedies rise the champions who change the game itself and inspire people around the world to rise above their circumstances.

Such is the story of Pakistan’s newest pace sensation Naseem Shah who, even before arriving at the international arena, has shown that he possesses the courage and passion that can potentially drive his career to great heights.

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Naseem gained a spot in the national Test squad after six first-class matches, where the 16-year-old took 26 wickets at an average of 16.50. His raw pace generated a lot of praise and expectations. He has been asked to represent Pakistan in a challenge that the mighty legends of yesterday had failed to surmount, a Test series against Australia Down Under.

Many players have faced adversity in life. Many have lost important people in their lives while representing their countries. But it would take an infinite amount of courage for anyone, let alone a 16-year-old kid, to bounce back from this tragedy.

What did Naseem Shah do in the face of this adversity? What did a 16-year-old feel in an alien country, far from his loved ones after the untimely demise of his mother? He got up the next day and came out to do the thing he knows best. The young warrior stepped up to the pitch and delivered thunderbolts at his opposition, each ball more menacing than the other with not a mark of angst on his face.  His actions transcend the cricket field and his story needs to be spoken out loud for everyone who faces a loss of a loved one in their life.

Naseem Shah is a warrior. Whatever his future or career trajectory may be, he is a proud warrior of a proud country that takes hit after hit and just won’t stay down. A country that prides itself on looking adversity straight into the eyes and powering through has no doubt unleashed its latest warrior onto the international cricket arena. His mother must be looking on from somewhere, proud of the man, the warrior, she brought to this world.