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England’s Rehan Ahmed Becomes Youngest to Play a Test

In the final Test between Pakistan and England, leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed brought England on course for a victory after three days of play. With the unprecedented whitewash, Ahmed became the youngest debutant to take five wickets in an innings. Ahmed also easily surpassed the record for the youngest Englishman to take five in an innings.

It was during India’s tour of England that Rehan got named in the County Select XI squad. Ahmed made his List A debut in July 2021 for Leicestershire in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Having just turned 18 on Saturday, Ahmed is now the youngest man ever to play a Test for England. He has also grabbed 5-48 to bundle Pakistan out for 216, giving his team a target of 167 runs with 75 minutes and two days to play.

In an interview after the match, the leg spinner stated, “I don’t think it has sunk in yet, but yes I am very grateful,” and “I bowled better balls and not got wickets, so to get a wicket is nice, especially when it is Babar.”

The young player also talked about how he loved Rizwan’s wicket. This was because, according to Ahmed, “I’ve been working on my leg-spin quite hard for the last two months with Jeetan (Patel, England spin coach), so to get one to get it to spin a little bit the other side, it was great.”

Before Ahmed, Australia’s Pat Cummins was the one to hold the record of the youngest debutante when he took five wickets in his debut Test against South Africa at Johannesburg in 2011 at 18 years 193 days old.

The previous England record-holder, however, was Bill Voce, who was aged 20 years and 177 days when he achieved the same feat in 1930.

In the match, Ahmed had stepped onto the field after Azam and Shakeel had put on a valiant rebuilding effort through a fourth-wicket stand of 110 runs. He oversaw a brutal passage of play, removing Azam, Mohammad Rizwan (7), and Shakeel in the space of six overs for the addition of a paltry 13 runs.

In addition to Rizwan and Shakeel, Mohammad Wasim (two) and Agha Salman (21) also fell to Ahmed.

Before Ahmed took down the players, Jack Leach had Pakistan reeling after he knocked over openers Shan Masood and Abdullah Shafique and veteran Azhar Ali.

As a result of this, top-order stalwart Azhar Ali was denied a fairy-tale ending to a storied career that has spanned 97 Tests and 7,142 runs.

At the end of the match, the England players clapped as Azhar trudged back to the dressing room. 

This is England’s first Test tour of Pakistan in 17 years. They won the first Test in Rawalpindi by 74 runs and the second in Multan by 26 runs.

Their next match will be on January 27 against South Africa and will take place in the capital of Bloemfontein. The last time the two faced each other was when the South Africa cricket team toured England from July to September 2022 to play three Test matches, three One Day International (ODI) and three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches.

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