Odisha News Insight

18 U-19 colts to play their Second Cricket World Cup

U-19 World CupDubai, Jan 14: The 11th edition of the U-19 cricket World Cup, to be held in four cities in Bangladesh from January 27 to February 14, will see 18 players making their second appearance in the prestigious tournament. The tourney will feature nine Test-playing nations and seven Associate and Affiliate members — Afghanistan, Canada, Fiji, Ireland, Namibia, Nepal and Scotland.

Bangladesh’s Mehidy Hassan Miraz enjoys the rare distinction of captaining his nation in both the 2014 and 2016 events. Mehidy, who celebrated his 18th birthday in October last year, had not turned 16 when he led the team in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2014.

Besides Mehidy, the hosts have four other players with previous experience of having taken part in the sport’s premier age-group tournament. They are Najmul Hossain, Joyraj Sheik, Zakir Hasan and Saeed Sarker. Mehidy was confident that Bangladesh, which finished ninth in 2014, will be a force to reckon with on home soil.

“The fact that many of us have been in the under-19 team for more than two years means that we are fairly experienced at this level,” the Bangladesh captain said in an International Cricket Council (ICC) release on Thursday.

“We pretty much have the same set of coaches and team management who understand our needs.”

Three-time former champions India have in its ranks Sarfaraz Khan, Ricky Bhui and Avesh Khan, who helped their team finish fifth in the UAE edition. Sarfaraz insisted that he had unfinished business at hand in Bangladesh.

“Our hopes of defending the title in 2014 were dashed when we lost to England in the quarter-finals,” the batsman said.

“That really hurts and we are determined to go all the way this time. It helps to have played at the senior level in domestic cricket but I can’t be complacent about that. We will be competing against the world’s best junior players in Bangladesh. I just want to do well and help my team win.”

Afghanistan have retained four members of the squad that finished seventh in 2014. They are Ihsanullah Janat — who is now the captain, Muslim Musa, Waheed Shafaq and Zia-ur-Rehman Akbar.

Abraash Khan of Canada, Shimron Hetmyer of the West Indies and New Zealand’s Josh Finnie will return as captains of their respective teams hoping to better the 2014 performances where the West Indies finished sixth, New Zealand 10th and Canada 15th.

Namibia’s squad includes two members of their 2014 squad that finished 14th with Zane Green taking over as captain and S.J. loftie-Eaton, a key member of the side. Ryan Brown is the only Scotland player making his second appearance in the tournament. He played just one match in 2014 where he took two wickets for 18 runs.

Nepal and Ireland did not qualify in 2014, while Fiji is the only newcomer to the event. (IANS)

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