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June 15, 2019

Pak U19 team departs for seven-match series in South Africa

Sports

June 15, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan Under-19 team will depart for Durban, South Africa, early Saturday (today) morning for a series of seven 50-over matches to be played from June 22 to July 7 in Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

The series is part of the side’s preparation for next year’s Under-19 World Cup, which will be staged in South Africa from January 17 to February 9. The 15-player side includes a number of exciting players who performed well in the 3-2 series victory over Sri Lanka in Hambantota recently.

Captain and wicketkeeper batsman Rohail Nazir, who top-scored in the five-match 50-overs series against Sri Lanka with 320 runs, said: “The win over Sri Lanka U19 has boosted the players’ confidence for the South Africa series. The win has provided us a great platform to perform well not only on the upcoming tour but also this year’s ACC Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and the World Cup.

“The South Africa tour is a well-planned one as the seven-match 50-over series will help the players learn about the conditions and be better prepared for the World Cup,” he said.

On the return of fast bowler Naseem Shah from injury, Rohail said: “Naseem and I have been playing cricket together since the Under-16 level. Naseem’s inclusion in the side will surely give strength to the fast bowling department. He represented Pakistan in the Asia Cup last year, featured in first-class cricket and his experience will help the side on the tour.”

Azam Khan, team’s coach-cum-manager, said: “The series win against Sri Lanka has provided the players a stage from where they can continue to improve and learn, and this South Africa tour will award them this opportunity.

“We have made a few changes from the Sri Lanka tour to try our bench strength, and make the right combination for next international events.” Naseem, a right-arm fast bowler from Lahore, was ruled out from competitive cricket last October due to back injury. The bowler worked with the National Cricket Academy as part of the rehabilitation process, and is excited to represent Pakistan again. “I am feeling very good and it is a proud moment for me to play for Pakistan Under-19 again. I am grateful to the NCA coaches who have looked after me really well. I am fit now and looking forward to contribute to the team’s victory in the forthcoming series,” Shah said.

Squad: Rohail Nazir (captain, wicket-keeper) (Islamabad), Haider Ali (vice-captain), Abbas Afridi (both FATA), Akhtar Shah (Quetta), Amir Ali (Larkana), Basit Ali (Multan), Fahad Munir (Lahore), Irfan Niazi (Faisalabad), Mohammad Amir (Peshawar), Mohammad Haris (Peshawar), Mohammad Wasim (FATA), Naseem Shah (Lahore), Qasim Akram (Lahore), Saim Ayub (Karachi), and Shiraz Khan (Rawalpindi).

Officials: Azam Khan (coach-cum-manager), Mohtashim Rasheed (assistant coach), Faheem Shah (physiotherapist), Saboor Ahmed (trainer), Usman Hashmi (analyst)

The team will play a practice match against KZN Academy at Varsity Oval, Durban, on June 19.

The first match against South Africa Under-19 will be played on June 22 at Chatsworth Cricket Oval, Durban. The next four matches will be played on June 25, June 27, June 30, and July 2 at Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg. The last two matches will be played on July 5 and July 7 at Chatsworth Cricket Oval, Durban.

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