England are planning to debut 18-year-old leg spinner Rehan Ahmed in the Third Test against Pakistan.
If Ahmed is selected for Karachi on Saturday, he would be the youngest man to play a Test for England, breaking a record held by Brian Close since 1949.
England already have an unassailable 2-0 series lead and are looking for a historic sweep.
“We thought about it,” captain Ben Stokes said. “Having a wrist-spinner is always exciting.”
Leicestershire’s Ahmed, who was part of the England squad that reached the Under-19 World Cup final, has made just three first-class appearances.
He was first named on an England Lions night out for a training camp in the United Arab Emirates, then joined the full squad in a warm-up game in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.
Ahmed featured as a sub in England’s wins at Rawalpindi and Multan.
England arrived in Karachi on Wednesday but with most of the squad taking a rest day on Thursday, Stokes will not see conditions at the National Stadium until training on Friday.
“We can’t go into too much detail until we take a look at the box office,” Stokes said.
“We picked him in the squad not just because of his talent, but because we thought it would be a good opportunity to play if we thought it was necessary.”
Ahmed could replace the versatile Will Jacks, or a fast bowler, depending on the conditions. England must also decide whether or not to recall wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, which would change the balance of the team.
If he plays, Ahmed will be 18 years and 126 days old. Legendary former England captain Close was 18 years and 149 days old when he played against New Zealand at Old Trafford more than seven decades ago.
Ahmed would not be the youngest person to play a Test for England – left-arm spinner Holly Colvin was 15 years and 336 days old when she played against Australia in 2005.
Although chosen for his bowling, Ahmed considers himself more of a hitter – he made a century at bat at number five for Leicestershire in his third Premier League game.
“He loves cricket,” Stokes said. “I’m struggling to understand what he is, whether he’s a hitter or a kicker, which I guess is good because it shows how talented he is.
“It’s about not getting too carried away with the potential he has, because he’s only young. You always have to cultivate talent, no matter how exciting it is.”
If Ahmed plays, he would be the first non-white man to take part in a Test for England since Stokes took charge nine games ago.
On Tuesday, former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq made his second appearance before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee and said “cricket is in denial” about racism.
“I always thought cricket was a very inclusive sport,” Stokes said. “Certainly during my time in the England squad, you were selected first and foremost for your skills as a cricketer.
“That should always be the way to go, regardless of your beliefs or your appearance. If you are good enough to represent this country, you will be chosen.
“Rehan could be an incredible example to set for young kids who want to come. They might have heard about what happened in cricket recently, but you can see an example of ‘no, we’ve got this 18-year-old. years old, I’m hoping for a potential superstar, why can’t I be that?”