Piyush Chawla making his debut at the age of 17 years
and 75 days only emphasis the trend among Asian
cricketers to throw their cricketers in at the deep
end at an early age.
Some learn to swim pretty fast, Sachin Tendulkar of
course being the prime example, others sink like a
stone. One such glaring case was leg spinner L.
Sivaramakrishan, the youngest debutant after Tendulkar
before his record was overtaken in the ongoing Mohali
Test by Chawla, also a 'leggie.'
In Siva's case fame and fortune went to his head and
within a couple of years he had faded out, not though
before winning a Test against England in 1984 and
helping India clinch the World Championship of Cricket
title in Australia. Now of course Siva has reinvented
himself as a successful TV commentator.
It is quite amazing really that of the 20 youngest
players to make their Test debut all but one come from
Asia--that is India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and
Just one Englishman has played for his country while
still in his teens and that was Brian Close over 57
Traditionally, England and Australia have been wary of
blooding youngsters, going for experience over youth.
The Under-19 World Cup launched a few years ago by the
ICC has also proved a fertile breeding ground for
precious talent who have often taken the short route
straight from the U-19 Indian team to the senior
This was the case with Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif
and more recently, Irfan Pathan and Chawla himself who
was Player of the Tournament in last month's Under-19
World Cup in Sri Lanka in which India lost in the
final to Pakistan.
The various age-group tournaments conducted by the
BCCI also help to spot talent at an early age.
The experiment has generally worked for India and
Pakistan with more players than not coming good at a
The following is the list of youngest players in Test
cricket. A point to note though is that the ages of
many Pakistani players are in doubt. Imran Khan is on
record as stating that all cricketers from his
country, with the exception of Imran himself, have
falsified their ages.
14y 227d: Hasan Raza (Pakistan)
15y 124d: Mushtaq Mohammad (Pakistan)
15y 128d Mohammad Sharif (Bangladesh)
16y 189d: Aaqib Javed (Pakistan)
16y 205d: SR Tendulkar (India)
16y 221d: Aftab Baloch (Pakistan)
16y 223d: Talha Jubair (Bangladesh)
16y 248d: Nasim-ul-Ghani (Pakistan)
16y 267d: Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh)
16y 320d: Enamul Haque jnr (Bangladesh)
16y 352d: Khalid Hasan (Bangladesh)
17y 5d: Zahid Fazal (Pakistan)
17y 61d: Mohammad Ashraful (Bangladesh)
17y 68d: Ata-ur-Rehman(Pakistan)
17y 73d: Nazmul Hossain (Bangladesh)
17 y. 75 days: Piyush Chawla (India)
17y 78d: Imran Nazir (Pakistan)
17y 118d: L Sivaramakrishnan (India)
17y 122d: JED Sealy (West Indies)
17y 129d: Fazl-e-Akbar (Pakistan)