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Lahore, Pakistan – Long held suspicions surrounding the legitimacy of Pakistan age group player birth certificates may have been unwittingly confirmed today by an unguarded comment from national U19 manager, Naved Malik, that “Joe Root looks younger than some of my player’s grandchildren.”

Debate about the official age of Pakistani cricketers has raged ever since the vice-captain of their 2002 U19 World Cup squad missed the tournament to have an emergency hip-replacement, but it’s Malik’s comments about England’s latest fresh-faced debutant that have really raised eyebrows.

“We’ll have to look carefully at his comments,” admitted ICC Spokesman, Pete Wantage, “over the years we’ve had a number of complaints about Pakistani schoolboy players with full beards and children in tow, but this appears to be the first official confirmation that overage players have indeed been fielded.”

But whatever the fallout from his comments, Malik remains unconcerned:

“This is a lot of fuss over an innocent remark. ‘He’s young enough to be your grandchild’ is just an everyday phrase we use in the Pakistan U19 setup, like ‘He’s baby-faced’ or ‘you can collect your pension after net practise.’ If the ICC wants to investigate our team they’re free to do so at any time, apart perhaps from next Monday morning when the players will be busy getting their winter flu jabs.”

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