With several youngsters accumulating in staggering numbers to play international cricket, the ICC has set a minimum age requirement. The ICC has underlined that no player below 15 years of age would be allowed to feature in any form of men’s, women’s or U-19 international cricket match. The ICC released an official statement concerning the same.
In recent years, several countries have taken in players at quite a tender age. In recent years, Pakistan fast bowler Naseem Shah was the youngest player to when he made his Test debut at 16 in November 2019. Afghan spin-prodigy Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman also played his first international match as a teenager. While there is immense potential in such cricketers, the ICC saw it best to set an age limit.
Nevertheless, it is also imperative to note that thus far in men’s cricket amongst the top teams, only Pakistan’s Hasan Raza has played before turning 15. Hasan Raza debuted in Test cricket against Zimbabwe in Faisalabad back in 1996 when he was 14. Romania’s M Gherasim and Kuwait’s Bhavsar also donned the international jersey in T20Is at the age of 14.
ICC’s statement regarding the age limit in detail:
The ICC introduced a statement regarding the minimum age restrictions for international for the welfare of the cricketers. The regulation will apply across all forms of cricket as they will need to be at least 15 years of age to participate in men’s, women’s or U19 international cricket. Nevertheless, in case of exceptions, the member could apply to ICC to allow a player to play for them, who is under 15 years old. It would be with an understanding that the cricketer’s experience, mental development, and well-being shows they are ready to bear with the demands of international cricket.
“The Board confirmed the introduction of minimum age restrictions for international cricket to improve safeguarding of players which will apply across all cricket including ICC events, bilateral cricket and U19 cricket. To play in any form of men’s, women’s or U19 international cricket players must now be a minimum age of 15. In case of exceptional circumstances, a Member Board could apply to the ICC to allow a player under the age of 15 to play for them. This could include where the player’s playing experience and mental development and wellbeing demonstrates that they would be capable of coping with the demands of international cricket,” the statement said as quoted by News18.