Pakistan's 18-year-old cricketer Ayesha Naseem announces retirement due to religious reasons
Pakistan's young cricket sensation, Ayesha Naseem, has made a surprising decision to retire from international cricket at just 18 years old. Having represented Pakistan in four One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 30 T20 Internationals (T20Is), Ayesha's standout performance came during the T20 World Cup 2022 when she impressed with a quickfire 24 runs off 20 balls against the formidable Australian team. Once hailed as a 'serious talent' by cricket legend Wasim Akram, Ayesha has chosen to bid farewell to the sport she showed immense promise in, according to various reports. Ayesha has cited her desire to follow the principles of Islam as the reason for her decision to step away from cricket, reports suggest. LiveMint could not independently verify the reports. "I'm leaving cricket and want to live my life according to Islam," Naseem reportedly told PCB. She reportedly reached out to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to confirm her retirement, closing a chapter in her sporting journey that began with her international debut in 2020. However, no official confirmation has come yet from PCB. With over 400 runs to her name from 34 international appearances, Ayesha's retirement comes as a surprise to many who saw her as a future star of Pakistani cricket, particularly in white-ball formats. Ayesha's decision to retire at a young age may draw parallels to Indian actress Zaira Wasim, who also chose to step away from her successful Bollywood career at 18, citing her desire to uphold her religious beliefs. The Kashmiri actor rose to fame with Dangal, one of the highest grossing movies in the history of Indian cinema. Here are some of the other professionals who retired due to religious beliefs. Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens): The iconic British singer-songwriter converted to Islam in the late 1970s and subsequently retired from the music industry. He later returned to music but focused on Islamic-themed songs. Khabib Nurmagomedov: The undefeated Russian mixed martial artist retired from UFC in 2020, citing his promise to his mother that he would not continue fighting after the death of his father, and to focus on his Muslim faith. Dave Chappelle: The American comedian famously left his popular TV show, Chappelle's Show, and took a hiatus from comedy, citing a spiritual journey and a desire to explore his Muslim faith.