Thursday February 29, 2024

Pakistan U19 to tour Lanka

April 10, 2019

LAHORE: Pakistan’s preparations for reclaiming the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup will kick-start next month when they will play two four-day and three 50-over matches against Sri Lanka in Galle and Hambantota, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Tuesday.

The U19 World Cup 2020 will be played in South Africa from January 17 to February 9, 2020, and Pakistan will aim to annex the trophy for the first time since 2006 when national captain Sarfaraz Ahmed had lifted the silverware in Colombo after defeating India in a low-scoring thriller.

Pakistan also won the title in Bangladesh in 2004, finished second in Australia (1998 and 2010) and the United Arab Emirates (2014), while they claimed third positions in Malaysia and New Zealand in 2008 and 2018, respectively.

The three-week Sri Lanka tour will comprise two four-day matches from May 3-6 and May 9-12 in Galle and Hambantota while the 50-over fixtures will be played on May 15, 17 and 20.

In this regard, the junior selection committee, headed by former Test batsman Basit Ali, has announced 26 probables who will feature in a three-day trial match from April 11-13 and a one-day trial match on May 15 at the National Stadium, before the 15-player squad along with five reserves are announced.

PCB Director International Zakir Khan said: “Junior cricket is the supply-line for our national team. It is a stepping-stone for future stars and the PCB is committed to investing and providing our talented teenagers as much experience and exposure as possible at this level so that they are better prepared for bigger and tougher future challenges.

“The tour to Sri Lanka is the first step in our ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 preparations as we aim to regain the title next year. It is the PCB’s responsibility to create and provide opportunities and platforms to our next generation of cricketers to express themselves and carry forward the good work of the current or previous generations.

“While finalising junior tours, the PCB is ensuring it continues to maintain the primacy of red ball cricket and develop cricketers who are equally well-prepared for the longer version of the game. While our U16 team will play two three-match matches against Bangladesh next month, we have scheduled as many four-dayers for the U19 side.”

The past five World Cups have given Pakistan cricketers such as Ahmed Shehzad (2010), Babar Azam, Mohammad Nawaz, Ehsan Adil (all 2012), Sami Aslam, Imam-ul-Haq (both 2012 & 2014), Shadab Khan (2016) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (2018).

Apart from the upcoming Sri Lanka tour, a couple of more U19 tours in the build-up to the World Cup are in the pipeline and further announcements will be made in due course.

Probables: Khayyam Khan, Muzammil Khan, Basit Ali, Irfan Niazi, Sulman Shafqat, Abbas Afridi, Aftab Alam, Mohammad Wasim, Said Nazir, Rohail Nazir, Mohammad Taha, Nadir Shah, Saim Ayub, Fahad Munir, Qasim Akram, Amir Ali, Mohammad Asif, M Jahangir, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Haris, Niaz Khan, Salman Khan Jr, Akhtar Shah, Muhammad Junaid, Haider Ali and Shiraz Khan.

Tour schedule: April 30: Departure for Colombo; May 3-6: 1st four-day match, Galle; May 9-12: 2nd four-day match, Hambantota; May 15: 1st 50-over match, Hambantota; May 17: 2nd 50-over match, Hambantota; May 20: 3rd 50-over match, Galle.