The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced that they have introduced a minimum age policy in international cricket. Players will now have to be at least 15 years old to play international cricket, ICC has said. However, as announced by the world body, countries still have the option to field a player younger than 15 years old. In exceptional circumstances, boards could apply to ICC to allow a player under the age of 15 to play for the respective country.

“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,” ICC said in a release.

“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,” it added.

Earlier, there was no bar on the age of a cricketer to play any form of international cricket.

Pakistan’s Hasan Raza, who played seven Tests and 16 ODIs between 1996 and 2005, holds the record of being the youngest to play international cricket. The right-handed batsman made his Test debut when he was 14 years and 227 days old.