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Stars in their eyes, young guns embark on journey of hope - Cricket News
Features and Specials,26 January 2016

Stars in their eyes, young guns embark on journey of hope

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Pakistan's ICC U19 CWC winning captains share their memories

With three weeks to go before the first ball is bowled in the ninth edition of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in Queensland, Australia, Pakistan's World Cup winning captains Khalid Latif and Sarfraz Ahmed reflect on their memories...

Pakistan's ICC U19 CWC winning captains share their memories - Cricket News
With three weeks to go before the first ball is bowled in the ninth edition of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in Queensland, Australia, Pakistan's World Cup winning captains Khalid Latif and Sarfraz Ahmed reflect on their memories from the Bangladesh and Sri Lanka tournaments, respectively.
 
Khalid led Pakistan to victory in the 2004 event in Bangladesh, where his side defeated the West Indies by 25 runs while Sarfraz inspired Pakistan to a nerve-wracking 38-run victory over India in the final of the 2006 event in Sri Lanka.
"That was the finest moment of my life. It was a very emotional moment which I will cherish for the rest of my life," said Khalid, adding: "Reaching the zenith of glory at that level! I don't think it can get any bigger than that at that level. I don't think words can translate the feelings when we achieved something which we have wanted so desperately."
In the 2004 event, Pakistan defeated Papua New Guinea (PNG) by eight wickets, Ireland by eight wickets, West Indies by 163 runs, Zimbabwe by nine wickets, New Zealand by eight wickets and lost to England by five runs before beating India by five wickets in the semi-final and again the West Indies by 25 runs in the final.
Pakistan had entered in the ICC U19 CWC 2004 as rank outsiders after having failed to progress to the second round two years earlier after losing to Nepal. Then, in the lead up to the ICC U19 CWC 2004, Pakistan lost to both Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka in the U19 Asia Cup
Khalid said the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup provides a perfect platform for budding cricketers. "Not many people acknowledge this but the reality is the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup has produced a number of world-class cricketers.
I am sure this year's event will change the lives of a number of cricketers but only those who uphold the spirit of the game and respect this sport and their opponents will enter record books as legends of the game," Khalid concluded.
Two years later Sarfraz Ahmed's side carried on the good work started by Khalid's side when Pakistan successfully defended the title in Colombo, Sri Lanka. During the tournament, Pakistan defeated Uganda by eight wickets, lost to Bangladesh by four wickets, beat New Zealand by eight wickets, beat Zimbabwe by five wickets in the quarter-final, Australia by 163 runs in the semi-final before overpowering India by 38 runs in the final.
Sarfraz, who finished as the second most successful wicketkeeper behind the West Indies' William Perkins with 15 dismissals, recalled: "I don't think there can be a better or bigger moment than being the captain of your country, beat India in what was a low-scoring final and then collect the trophy from ICC President Ehsan Mani who was also from Pakistan.
"I still remember the players hugging each other, kissing the trophy and thanking Almighty God for bestowing all of us with such a huge honour. It was a miraculous win and a sweet one as well because back home the senior boys had just lost the five-match ODI series to India by 4-1."
Sarfraz said his side was showered with a lot of praise upon return. "We were treated like national heroes when hundreds of people turned up at the Karachi airport to receive us, we were on every television network and there were big write-ups in the newspapers. We were driven to the National Stadium in a procession where our achievement was hailed and big bonuses were announced.
"That was the time when we understood and realised what victory means to our nation and how it unites all of us."

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