TN Media News:
The 18-year-old leg-spinner will make his senior international debut in Karachi, while Ben Foakes replaces James Anderson Rehan Ahmed will make his international debut against Pakistan, with the teenager set to become England’s youngest men’s Test debutant on Saturday. Ahmed, 18, is younger than Brian Close, who has held the record since 1949. Holly Colvin, the former England Women’s left-arm spinner, remains England’s youngest Test cricketer overall. She was just 15 when picked against Australia in 2005.
Ahmed replaces off-spinning allrounder Will Jacks, who took six wickets in his first innings as a Test cricketer in the first Test victory at Rawalpindi but was scarcely used in the win at Multan Ben Foakes, who missed the first Test through illness and the second after England opted to stick with Ollie Pope behind the stumps, returns as wicketkeeper as Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum opt to rest James Anderson. But it is Ahmed’s selection – on the back of just three first-class appearances for Leicestershire – that will raise eyebrows.
Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Rehan Ahmed, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Jack Leach
He picked up a five-wicket haul in Leicestershire’s high-scoring draw with Derbyshire and made a second-innings century in the same game, batting at No.5.
But he was expensive and wicketless in England Lions’ tour game in Abu Dhabi against England’s Test side last month, after which he was added to the squad to tour Pakistan. Rob Key, the managing director of England men’s cricket, insisted that had been part of the plan all along and that picking him late in the Test squad was only held back in order to look after him. Ahmed’s potential has never been in question: he net-bowled at international players before he was even a teenager and impressed Shane Warne, who was watching on. More recently, he was a key part of the England Under-19 side that reached the World Cup final last year. Southern Brave responded by tying him to a £50,000 contract in The Hundred.
This opportunity would likely not have arisen without the knee injury that sent Liam Livingstone home and effectively left Ahmed as the sole wrist-spinner on the trip, particularly after Jack’s ineffectual display at Multan. He will be aided by the return of England’s first-choice gloveman, with Foakes’ selection allowing Pope to focus on batting at No.3. The decision to rest Anderson means that Stokes will likely share the seam bowling loads after not using himself at all in the win at Multan.