Sunday, September 25, 2022

Pakistan face Zimbabwe in Under-19 World Cup opener today

Pakistan face Zimbabwe in Under-19 World Cup opener today

LAHORE (92 News) – Two-time former champions Pakistan will take on Zimbabwe in the ICC Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup West Indies 2022 opener on Monday at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex in Trinidad and Tobago.

Pakistan will then meet Afghanistan on Thursday at the Brian Lara Cricket Ground, while their last Group C fixtures will be against Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Saturday at the Queens Park Oval.

If Pakistan top’s Group C, their Super League quarter-final will be on Friday, 28 January, at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground against the side that finishes second in Group D, which comprise West Indies, Australia, Sri Lanka and Scotland.

In the scenario of Pakistan finishing second in Group C, their Super League quarter-final will be on Thursday, 27 January, at the Coolidge Cricket Ground against the side that tops Group C, which includes West Indies, Australia, Sri Lanka and Scotland.

Pakistan is the third most successful side after India and Australia in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, which was launched in 1988 before becoming a biennial event in 1998. Pakistan have won titles in 2004 and 2006, finished runners-up thrice in 1988, 2010 and 2014, and achieved third positions in 2000, 2008, 2018 and 2020.

Apart from dominating the U19 World Cups since its inception, Pakistan have also produced cricketers from this competition who have gone on to make cricket a bigger and stronger sport.

The 1988 competition in Australia saw the emergence of Aqib Javed, Basit Ali, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mushatq Ahmed, the last event in South Africa has resulted in the graduation of Haider Ali and Mohammad Wasim Junior to international cricket. Both the players were part of Pakistan’s squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, with Wasim later winning the PCB Emerging Cricketer of 2021 award.

Some of the other prominent Pakistan internationals to progress from the U19 World Cup in the period between 1998 and 2018 include Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik  (both 1998), Faisal Iqbal, Imran Nazir, Mohammad Sami Taufeeq Umar, Yasir Arafat (all 2000), Azhar Ali, Junaid Zia, Umar Gul (all 2002), Abid Ali, Fawad Alam, Wahab Riaz (all 2004), Sarfaraz Ahmed, Imad Wasim (both 2006), Shan Masood, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal (all 2008), Babar Azam (2010), Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz (both 2012), Shadab Khan (2016) and, Mohammad Musa and Shaheen Shah Afridi (2018).

Qasim Akram, who featured in the 2020 tournament along with Haider Ali and Mohammad Wasim Junior, will be making his second appearance when he will captain Pakistan’s future stars in the 2022 edition.

 “The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup is the biggest and most competitive tournament we get to play at this level. This tournament provides us a reality check of where we stand as compared to cricketers from other nations and what we need to do to in future to enhance our skills so that we can compete strongly at the highest level.

 “This tournament also helps in building relationships with cricketers from other countries and this bonding stays with us for the rest of our careers. I know a number of players who played with me in the 2020 U19 World Cup and I feel happy when they perform. Of course, they also motivate me to improve my skills and play alongside them in the international arena.

 “We come into this tournament oozing with confidence. We had a long pre-tour preparation camps in Karachi and Lahore and then had some good games in the UAE before one bad day in the office ruined our chances of winning the Asia Cup. We have won both the warm-up matches and have practiced hard in the West Indies, and feel we are fully prepared and ready to enter the tournament.

 “We take a lot of motivation from our men’s squad. They had a great 2021, which has created a feel good factor, which we can capitalise on by winning the tournament and ending the 16-year title drought.

 “I have no doubts we are one of the favourites and have players who can help us win the first trophy of this decade. All we need to do is to play our natural game, don’t be overawed by the occasion and continue to focus and believe in our abilities.”

Squad - Qasim Akram (captain, Central Punjab), Abdul Faseeh (Northern), Abbas Ali (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Ahmed Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Ali Asfand (Central Punjab), Arham Nawab (Central Punjab), Awais Ali (Central Punjab), Faisal Akram (Southern Punjab), Haseebullah (wicketkeeper, Balochistan), Irfan Khan Niazi (Central Punjab), Maaz Sadaqat (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mehran Mumtaz (Northern), Mohammad Shehzad (Southern Punjab), Rizwan Mehmood (Sindh) and Zeeshan Zameer (Sindh)

Traveling reserves: Ghazi Ghori (wicketkeeper, Sindh), Mohammad Zeeshan (Central Punjab).

Pakistan fixtures:

17 Jan - v Zimbabwe - Diego Martin Sporting Complex.

20 Jan - v Afghanistan - Brian Lara Cricket Ground.

22 Jan - v PNG - Queens Park Oval.