Grooming them young

September 13, 2020

Pakistan has a surfeit of talented young cricketers and it has not been hesitant about bringing them to the Test arena at a very young age, believing in the maxim that if you’re good enough then you’re also old enough. As is evident from these lists the trust reposed in these young players has been repaid with performances in every facet of the game


Pakistan has a tradition of introducing players to test cricket at a very early age. This has resulted in a large number of Pakistani players being either the youngest or close to the youngest to have reached different milestones in the game.

Youngest cricketers to play Test cricket

Hasan Raza is the youngest cricketer to play Test cricket. He made his debut at the tender age of 14 years and 227 days, when he played against Zimbabwe at Faisalabad in October 1996. The second youngest is also a Pakistani; the famous Mushtaq Muhammad who played his first Test against the West Indies in Lahore in March 1959, at the age of 15 years and 124 days. In the list of youngest debutants there are six Pakistanis in the top ten.

1st Hasan Raza 14 years 227 days

2nd Mushtaq Muhammad 15 years 124 days

4th Aaqib Javed 16 years 189 days

6th Aftab Baluch 16 years 221 days

8th Nasimul Ghani 16 years 248 days

10th Naseem Shah 16 years 279 days

Youngest player to end Test career

Khalid Hasan was the youngest player to end his Test career, when he left the Test arena at the age of 16 years 356 days after a solitary Test against England in 1954.

Youngest to score a Test century

Pakistan again dominates this list. While the youngest Test centurion is Muhammad Ashraful of Bangladesh, who achieved this feat at the age of 17 years and 61 days, he is closely followed in second place by Mushtaq Muhammad who reached this milestone at the age of just 17 years and 78 days against India at Delhi in February 1961. There are seven Pakistanis in the top twelve of this list.

2nd Mushtaq Muhammad 17 years 78 days

3rd Imran Nazir 18 years 154 days

6th Saleem Malik 18 years 323 days

8th Shahid Afridi 18 years 333 days

9th Muhammad Ilyas 19 years 21 days

11th Muhammad Wasim 19 years 105 days

12th Javed Miandad 19 years 119 days

Youngest to score a Test century on debut

Muhammad Ashraful of Bangladesh again heads this list with a century on test debut at the age of 17 years and 61 days. Third on this list is Saleem Malik who scored a century against Sri Lanka in his opening Test, at the age of 18 years and 323 days.

Youngest to score 150 runs in a Test innings

This record is held by Javed Miandad who scored 163 against New Zealand at Lahore in October 1976, on his Test debut. Miandad was 19 years and 119 days old at the time.

Youngest double centurion in Test cricket

This honour again goes to Javed Miandad who scored 206 against New Zealand at Karachi at the age of 19 years and 140 days.

Youngest to score a Test triple century

While Gary Sobers holds this record with his 365 not out against Pakistan in 1958 at the age of 21 years and 213 days, Hanif Muhammad is fourth in this list with his knock of 337 against the West Indies earlier in the same series. Hanif was 23 years and 27 days old at the time.

Youngest to score a triple century in a team’s second innings*

Hanif’s mammoth knock of 337 at Bridgetown, Barbados also gave him the distinction of being the youngest player to make a Test triple century in the team’s second innings.

Youngest player to score 1000 Test runs

This list is headed by the legendary Sachin Tendulkar who reached this goal in his 28th innings at the age of 19 years and 261 days. Three Pakistani batsmen figure in the top twelve of this list.

5th Umar Akmal 21 years 98 days in 30 innings

6th Javed Miandad 21 years 126 days in 23 innings

12th Saleem Malik 21 years 238 days in 28 innings

Youngest player to score 2000 Test runs

Tendulkar is again top of this list reaching 2000 Test runs in 44 innings at the age of 20 years 329 days. Javed Miandad is in third place in this list, reaching 2000 runs in 42 innings at the age of 22 years 187 days.

Youngest player to take 5 wickets in an innings

The top three in this category are all Pakistanis.

1st Nasim ul Ghani 16 years 303 days versus West Indies in 1958

2nd Naseem Shah 16 years 307 days versus Sri Lanka in 2019

3rd Muhammad Amir 17 years 257 days against Australia in 2009

Youngest player to take 10 wickets in a match

The record is held by Enamul Haque of Bangladesh who achieved this feat against Zimbabwe in 2005 at the age of 18 years and 40 days. Pakistan has two representatives in the top five. Wasim Akram was the second youngest to do so versus New Zealand in 1985 when he was 18 years and 251 days. Waqar Younis is fifth on the list achieving this milestone against New Zealand at the age of 18 years 341 days in 1990.

Youngest to take 10 wickets in a match twice in one series

Waqar achieved this singular feat at the age of just 18 days 449 days in consecutive Tests in the series against New Zealand in 1990, with 10 wickets for 106 runs at Lahore to be followed by 12 for 130 runs at Faisalabad.

Youngest to take 50 wickets in Tests

This record belongs to Muhammad Amir who achieved this at the age of 18 years 136 days versus England in 2010.

Youngest to take 100 wickets in Tests

While Kapil Dev heads this list by taking 100 Test wickets at the age of 21 years and 25 days, there are 3 Pakistanis in the top ten.

3rd Waqar Younis 21 years and 50 days

7th Saqlain Mushtaq 22 years 325 days

10th Wasim Akram 23 years 323 days

Youngest to take 150 Test wickets

This honour belongs to Waqar Younis who got to this figure aged 22 years 86 days.

Youngest to take 200 Test wickets

Waqar Younis is the youngest player to capture 200 wickets, having done so at the age of 24 years 22 days. Another Pakistani, Saqlain Mushtaq, is the fifth youngest in this list at 26 years 29 days

Youngest to take 300 Test wickets

Kapil Dev heads this list by getting to this milestone when he was 27 years and 363 days old. Waqar Younis is the 4th youngest to do so, getting his 300 wickets when he was 28 years and 211 days old.

Youngest player to take a test hat-trick

This record also belongs to a Pakistani. Naseem Shah took a hat-trick when he was only 16 years and 359 days old. The third youngest hat-trick taker in Test history is also a Pakistani, Abdul Razzaq, who took a hat-trick against Sri Lanka in 2000 at the age of 20 years 202 days.

Youngest to score a century and take 10 wickets in the same match

After Sir Ian Botham of England and Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh, Imran Khan is the 3rd youngest cricketer to take 10wickets and score a century in the same match. He did this against India in Faisalabad in 1983, scoring 117 and taking 11 wickets for 180.

Youngest wicketkeeper in Tests

Hanif Mohammad became the youngest wicketkeeper in Test history when he played against India in 1952. He was only 17 years and 300 days old. This record stood for 50 years until Parthiv Patel of India bettered it by keeping wickets against England in 2002 at the age of 17 years 153 days.

Youngest captains in Test Cricket

Rashid Khan of Afghanistan became the youngest captain in test history when he led his side against Bangladesh in 2019 at the age of 20 years 350 days. Pakistan has two out of the top seven players in this category. Waqar Younis was the 4th youngest captain when he captained Pakistan against Zimbabwe at the age of 22 years and 15 days. Javed Miandad occupies 7th position in this list captaining Pakistan versus Australia in 1980, aged 22 years 260 days.

Pakistan has a surfeit of talented young cricketers and it has not been hesitant about bringing them to the Test arena at a very young age, believing in the maxim that if you’re good enough then you’re also old enough. As is evident from these lists the trust reposed in these young players has been repaid with performances in every facet of the game.


Dr Salman Faridi is a senior surgeon, poet, sports aficionado and an avid reader with a private collection of over 7000 books. [email protected]

Grooming them young