Sports: Cricket: Pakistan U19 off to Sri Lanka as part of ICC U19 World Cup 2020 preparations


Karachi:Pakistan U19 team captained by Rohail Nazir, left for Colombo, Sri Lanka, early Thursday morning for a series of five 50-over matches to be played from May 26to June 5 in Hambantota.

The series is part of the side’s preparation for next year’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020, which will be staged in South Africa from January 17 to February 9 2020. The 15-player side includes a number of exciting players who made a big impression in the Inter-Region U19 One-day tournament held in August 2018, while prior to their departure, they underwent a rigorous four-day training camp at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.

Captain and wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir, one of the star performers in the Inter-Region U19 One-day tournament with 238 runs in seven matches, said: “Such tours provide great exposure and opportunity for players to play and perform in different conditions, which help them prepare for the big tournaments like ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.

“I would like to appreciate the efforts made by Pakistan Cricket Board to reschedule the Sri Lanka tour, which would greatly help us in future.”

Middle-order batsman Mohammad Taha said, “We have prepared well for Sri Lanka tour and we are hopeful for positive results.”

Saim Ayub, the left-handed batsman, said: “There has been a lot of good work done by our coaching staff in all departments of the game and we are confident of winning the series against our counterparts. There are some fresh faces in the team that would make their debut on the tour and it would be great learning experience for them.’’

The tour was originally planned from May 6 to 20, comprising two four-day matches and three 50-over matches, but has been rescheduled following terror attacks in Colombo. Immediately after the Sri Lanka tour, Pakistan U19 will travel to South Africa where they will play seven 50-over matches from June 19 to July 7.

Squad: Rohail Nazir (captain, wicket-keeper) (Islamabad); Mohammad Taha (vice-captain) (Karachi); Abbas Afridi (FATA); Akhtar Shah (Quetta); Basit Ali (Multan); Haider Ali (Rawalpindi); Khayyam Khan (wicketkeeper) (Abbottabad); Mohammad Haris (Peshawar); Mohammad Junaid (Quetta); Mohammad Wasim (FATA); Niaz Khan (Peshawar); Saim Ayub (Karachi); Shiraz Khan (Rawalpindi); Suleman Shafqat (Faisalabad) and Qasim Akram (Lahore). Team management: Azam Khan (coach-cum-manager), Mohtashim Rasheed (assistant coach), Faheem Shah (physiotherapist), Saboor Ahmed (trainer), Usman Hashmi (analyst).

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