Pakistan v England: Rehan Ahmed’s promising debut in Karachi

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His father is only two years older than James Anderson, who was playing in his 10th Test on the day Ahmed was born. Club cricketers everywhere will have owned pieces of kit for longer than he has been alive.

In cricketing terms, leg-spinner Ahmed has always done things in a hurry.

He was bowling googlies, flippers and sliders before the age of 10. By 11 he was dismissing England captains past and present, Alastair Cook and Ben Stokes, in the nets at Lord’s. A year later he was impressing the late, great Shane Warne.

Now, at 18 years and 126 days, he has played Test cricket at a younger age than any other man to pull on an England shirt. You have to go back to 1899 to find an England player with fewer than Ahmed’s three first-class matches on Test debut.

For someone used to moving through life at pace, Ahmed actually found his feet in Test cricket by slowing down.

Understandably, his first spell on the first day of the third Test against Pakistan in Karachi was a nervous one.

Looking a little rushed, his five overs in the morning session cost 37 runs. Leg-spin is the hardest art in cricket to execute at the best of times, let alone when you’re only four months into legal adulthood and bowling to Babar Azam and Azhar Ali, two of the greatest Pakistanis to ever draw back a blade.

Returning after lunch, Ahmed was relaxed and ready to rip.

He fizzed catches from right hand to left and tugged at the shoulders of his shirt as if he’d had to borrow it from a bigger boy. He walked two paces then scurried to the crease, unleashing flat leg-breaks and devilish googlies.

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