Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Former Pakistan all-rounder Yasir Arafat has admitted that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) needs to tackle the problem of age-fudging.
Yasir noted that the issue has been prevalent for a long time, especially in Asian countries.
His comments come after questions were raised about whether 16-year-old Pakistan pace bowler Naseem Shah was withdrawn from the Under-19 World Cup due to concerns over his age.
Recently, Manjot Kalra, a member of India’s Under-19 World Cup team in 2018, was banned for two years for the offence.
Two more Indian players – Nitish Rana and Shivam Mavi – are currently being investigated.
“The issue of age-fudging has come to the fore in recent times due to numerous examples but let me assure you that this is not a new phenomenon but has been a problem for many years, especially amongst Asian countries,” Yasir wrote in his blog for PakPassion. “The way this seems to happen is that lets suppose there is a player eligible to play for the Under 19 side and is aged 17 or 18. He is unable to get into the side as other players who are older than him are already in the side. By the time his chance comes, his age has exceeded the Under 19 limit so what he does is somehow understate his age to give himself a chance to play in the Under 19 team.
“If I look back at the time when I played in the Lombard Under-15 Challenge Cup in 1996, a few of the players in the squad turned out to be overage despite being listed as below 15. The way this came to light was that all 22 Pakistani players chosen for this tournament were sent to Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital for bone age assessment scans to confirm our ages.
“These scans by their nature are not accurate measures but give a good indication of a person’s age within a 5-6 month range. The results of the tests were startling and showed that 11 out of the 22 players were overage with only the likes of Taufeeq Umar, Faisal Iqbal and myself being adjudged as truly being below age 15.
“I am not sure what techniques are being employed today by the PCB for determining player ages but I am hoping that the process is much better now and this whole issue is sorted very quickly as it’s disgraceful and embarrassing for Pakistan.”