Pakistan’s U19s future stars believe they can do it again in South Africa #u19cwc
Pakistan, who won their second and last ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 14 years ago, will launch their Group C campaign in the 2020 edition when they will take on Scotland in Potchefstroom, South Africa, on Sunday, 19 January. They will then take on Zimbabwe and Bangladesh on 22 and 24 January, respectively.
If Pakistan tops Group C, they will take on runners-up from Group D in the third Super League quarter-final in Potchefstroom on 30 January. In the scenario of Pakistan finishing runners-up in Group C, they will take on the winner of Group D in the last quarter-final on 31 January in Benoni.
The Super League semi-finals will be held on 4 and 6 February in Potchefstroom with the final on 9 February at the same venue.
Pakistan have returned to familiar territory for the most prestigious age-group competition. When they had toured South Africa in June-July last year as part of their event preparations, they had thumbed the hosts 7-0. In the two World Cup warm-up matches against Nigeria and Sri Lanka in Pretoria, Pakistan have recorded impressive nine-wicket and four-wicket victories, respectively.
To further supplement their recent record, Pakistan are the third most successful side in the history of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup after India, who have won the event four times, and Australia, the three-time championship. Pakistan also have the third best success percentage of 71.62, after India (76.31) and Australia (76.05).
Pakistan is captained by the highly-rated Rohail Nazir, the wicketkeeper-batsman who scored a century on his first-class debut in the previous season. He had maintained his impressive form in the away series against South Africa and Sri Lanka, as well as with the Pakistan Emerging side in Bangladesh.
Haider Ali, Rohail’s deputy, scored 317 runs in Pakistan’s 7-0 win over South Africa and then followed up with 214 runs in Pakistan’s 3-2 series win over Sri Lanka. In the ACC Emerging Cup, he scored 218 runs in five matches, while he scored 645 runs in seven first-class matches this season.
The side is coached by Ijaz Ahmed, who played 60 Tests and 250 ODIs between 1986 and 2001, scoring 3,315 and 6,564 runs, respectively.
Looking ahead to the competition, Rohail Nazir said: “We all are very excited as we have been preparing for this tournament for more than eight months. We are fully prepared to take on Scotland in our opener in less than 24 hours.
“Of course, there are a few butterflies in the stomach because it is such a massive event and opportunity for all of us, but I am sure we’ll settle down once we will step on to the field. I think this is where Ijaz Ahmed becomes so critical for our match preparations because he has seen and felt all this. His pep talks have already calmed down lots of nerves and we are completely focused, motivated and determined to perform strongly.
“We are an extremely fortunate bunch of cricketers who are about to taste international cricket. Apart from learning the rigours and demands of international cricket in an ICC-organised event, the World Cup will provide us the additional opportunity to meet cricketers from other sides and then build on those relationships for future.
“I firmly believe we are best prepared for the World Cup and have all the tools to produce the desired results. But we are not the only side which has come here fully prepared. I think all other 15 sides have arrived in South Africa firmly believing they can win the tournament.
“We all know stakes are high in this tournament and if we can achieve strong results, then we edge closer to our dreams of representing Pakistan at the highest level. At this level, this incentive is greater and bigger than anything and will shadow us in this tournament.
“We have won the tournaments in 2004 and 2006, and I am confident we will win the tournament in 2020.”
Pakistan’s group fixtures:
19 Jan – v Scotland, Potchefstroom
22 Jan – v Zimbabwe, Potchefstroom
24 Jan – v Bangladesh, Potchefstroom
ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 Groups:
Group A – India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Japan
Group B – Australia, England, West Indies and Nigeria
Group C – Pakistan, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Scotland
Group D – Afghanistan, South Africa, UAE and Canada
About the players (in alphabetical order):
Rohail Nazir (captain) - This will be his second ICC U19 Cricket World Cup. After scoring a century on his first-class debut last year, he was appointed U19 captain last year for the ACC U19 Asia Cup. He was one of the most impressive players in the bilateral series against Sri Lanka and South Africa, and then carried his form into the ACC Emerging Cup. In six first-class matches last year, he has scored 320 runs. In the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Pakistan’s premier first-class tournament, Rohail scored twin-fifties.
Haider Ali (vice-captain) – Scored 317 runs in Pakistan’s 7-0 win over South Africa in June/July and then followed up with 214 runs in Pakistan’s 3-2 series win over Sri Lanka. In last month’s ACC Emerging Cup, he scored 218 runs in five matches. In seven first-class matches last year, he has scored 645 runs, including a century in the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
Aamir Khan – The 18-year-old took 18 wickets in five matches in the PCB U19 three-day tournament after bagging one wicket in two PCB U19 one-day tournament. In the three-day non first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy tournament, he took five wickets in three matches.
Abbas Afridi – Took 17 wickets and scored 129 runs in 13 matches in Sri Lanka, South Africa and in the Asia Cup. Didn’t play in this year’s PCB U19 events after having already competed in three previous U19 events
Abdul Wahid Bangalzai – The 16 -year-old was the fifth leading run-getter in the PCB U19 One-Day Tournament with 246 runs, while in the three-day competition with 276 runs. He also played in the ACC U19 Asia Cup.
Amir Ali – The 17 -year-old left-arm spinner made his first-class debut this season and took one wicket. Prior to that, he toured South Africa and returned as the most successful bowler with 13 wickets. In the ACC Asia Cup, he took four wickets in three matches, while he picked up seven and 28 wickets, respectively in the PCB U19 One-Day and Three-Day competition, respectively.
Arish Ali Khan – The left-arm spinner was the leading wicket-taker in the PCB U19 One-Day Tournament with 15 wickets, while in the three-day tournament, he was the second leading wicket-taker with 30 wickets. He has been selected for the first time in the Pakistan U19 squad.
Fahad Munir – 17-year-old all-rounder scored 170 runs and took five wickets on the last year’s South African tour.He scored 50 runs and took three wickets in the ACC U19 Asia Cup. Didn’t play in this year’s PCB U19 events after having already competed in three previous U19 events
Mohammad Haris – The 18 -year-old middle-order batsman from Peshawar toured South Africa and also featured in the ACC Asia Cup, scoring 275 runs in seven matches and 96 runs in three matches, respectively. In the non first-class three-day Quaid-e-Azam Trophy tournament, he scored 31 runs in three matches. Didn’t play in this year’s PCB U19 events after having already competed in three previous U19 events
Mohammad Huraira – The 17 -year-old right-handed batsman was the top-scorer in the PCB U19 One-Day Tournament with 342 runs and then followed up with 358 runs in the three-day event –third most in the event.
Mohammad Irfan Khan – Scored 83 runs in the ACC U19 Asia Cup, third most by a Pakistan batsman. Prior to that, he had scored 208 runs in South Africa, while he scored 475 runs in 10 three-day Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches. Didn’t play in this year’s PCB U19 events after having already competed in three previous U19 events
Mohammad Shehzad – The 15 -year-old opener played in away and home series against Bangladesh U16. In the away series, he scored 26 runs in three 50-over matchesIn the home series, he scored 72 runs in two 50-over matches. In the ongoing PCB U16 three-day tournament, he has scored 175 runs in two matches at an average of 67. He has also taken six wickets.
Mohammad Wasim Jnr – The 18 -year-old from North Waziristan took three wickets each in the ACC Asia Cup and on the tour of South Africa, while he bagged seven wickets on the tour of Sri Lanka. On the domestic circuit, he played one U19 one-day match in which he bagged three wickets, while he snapped up seven wickets in three U19 three-day matches.
Tahir Hussain – The left-arm fast-bowler took six wickets in four PCB U19 One-Day Tournament, while in three matches of PCB U19 three-day event, he bagged three wickets.
Qasim Akram – The 17-year-old all-rounder scored 296 runs and took three wickets, and scored 260 runs and took 15 wickets in the PCB U19 One-Day and Three-Day Tournaments, respectively. In the Asia Cup, he scored 30 runs and claimed four wickets, while he scored 77 runs and 124 runs in South Africa and Sri Lanka, respectively.