The 10th edition of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup (ICC U19 CWC) will be staged in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 14 February to 1 March 2014. All 15-man squads for the event have now been confirmed, following the mandatory eligibility-checks.
Title-holder India is among the 16 teams that will play a total of 48 matches between them across seven venues, as the UAE hosts a major ICC tournament for the very first time.
The United Arab Emirates will be led by Rohit Singh, who was also in charge during the recent Asian Cricket Council U19 Asia Cup 2013-14 (ACC U19 Asia Cup).
Sharing his thoughts on the UAE’s first-ever appearance in the ICC U19 CWC, Singh said: “The entire team is tremendously excited, and looking forward to not just being a part of something historic, but also making some history with its performances. It will certainly be a step up for us after the Asia Cup – mentally we have to gear up and be stronger.”
Defending champion India, which beat Australia in the ICC U19 CWC 2012 final at Townsville, will be led by Vijay Zol. He also captained the side in the ACC U19 Asia Cup over December 2013 and January 2014, scoring 204 runs at an average of 51 in that tournament. Zol’s century against Pakistan in the final helped India win that title earlier this month.
Zol and Akhil Herwadkar are the only two survivors from India’s victorious ICC U19 CWC 2012 campaign.
India is bidding to become the first team to win four ICC U19 CWC titles and only the second team (after Pakistan in 2004 and 2006) to win back-to-back crowns. Looking ahead to its campaign, Zol said: “The exciting tournament format means there will be no easy matches, and when your first game of the tournament is against Pakistan, you simply have to hit the ground running.”
Three-time champion Australia, which was the runner-up at home in the last edition, has not named a captain yet. Alex Gregory is the only member of its squad who also featured in 2012.
Australia has included wicketkeeper Ben McDermott, who is the son of former right-arm fast bowler and current Australia bowling coach Craig McDermott, and who led the Australia U19 team in 2013.
Among the Australia players to watch out for will be Damien Mortimer, who topped the batting averages in similar conditions during the 50-over U19 quadrangular tournament in India in 2013, with 277 runs from six matches at an average of 55.40. Another key player could be leg break bowler Thomas Andrews, who was the joint-highest wicket-taker in that tournament with 10 scalps from five matches.
South Africa, which finished third in ICC U19 CWC 2012, has named Aiden Markram as its skipper. The squad does not have any survivors from the country’s 2012 campaign.
Recent form suggests one of the players South Africa would rely heavily on would be batsman Clyde Fortuin, who averaged 52 from six innings in India during last year’s 50-over U19 Quadrangular in India. Off spin bowler Yaseen Valli, who led South Africa in that tournament and had the second-highest number of scalps with nine victims from five matches, could be another key cog in the wheel.
New Zealand, which finished fourth in the previous edition, has put Robert O’Donnell at the helm. He is its only player with prior ICC U19 CWC experience, having turned out in the 2012 edition. O’Donnell was New Zealand’s most successful batsman in that edition, scoring 232 runs from six matches at an average of 38.66.
In the bowling department, New Zealand will pin their hopes on right-arm medium-fast bowler Kurtley Watson, who was second in the bowling charts when New Zealand U19 was last seen in action against Australia and India at the Top End U19 ODI tri-series in Australia in July 2013. Watson took 10 wickets from five matches in that tournament, at an average of just 12.70.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert is another key player for New Zealand U19, as is Leo Carter, who skippered the side in the Top End U19 series last year.
England, which was fifth at the ICC U19 CWC 2012, has given the reins to Will Rhodes. Its squad also includes Dominic Sibley, who became the youngest man to score a county championship double-century last year.
In England’s favour will be the fact that several of its current squad-members recently played a tri-nation U19 series also featuring Pakistan and the host nation UAE in December 2013. Ryan Higgins was the second-highest run-scorer in that tournament, with 225 from seven matches at an average of 32.14. Right-arm medium-fast bowler Rhodes was England’s most successful bowler in that series, with nine wickets from six matches.
Ben Duckett is the only player in England’s ranks that also featured in ICC U19 CWC 2012.
The West Indies, which had to be content with a sixth-place finish at the last edition, will be led by off spinning all-rounder Ramaal Lewis. Vice-captain Nicolas Pooran has made a mark in domestic limited-over cricket, having featured in 13 Twenty20 matches for Trinidad and Tobago.
Its squad also includes Tagenarine Chanderpaul, the son of West Indies batsman Shivnarine, who is currently placed second in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen.
Mohammad Mehidy Hassan Miraz has been appointed captain of Bangladesh, which is looking to improve further on its seventh-place finish at the ICC U19 CWC 2012.
Pakistan will be led by Sami Aslam, who was its third-highest run-getter at the last edition with 127 from six matches at an average of 21.16. Apart from him, Imam-ul-Haq, Zafar Gohar and Zia-ul-Haq are the others with prior ICC U19 CWC experience.
While Sami will be expected to lead with the bat, Pakistan’s bowling hopes rest on the shoulders of leg break operator Karamat Ali, who was the highest wicket-taker in the ACC U19 Asia Cup. He bagged 18 in his kitty from five matches there, averaging just 11.33 per scalp.
Kusal Mendis will lead Sri Lanka, which has just one survivor in its squad from ICC U19 CWC 2012 in the form of Anuk Fernando.
Sri Lanka finished a disappointing ninth in the last edition in Australia, but with conditions expected to be more conducive for its style of play this time around, it is hoping for a stronger showing, especially after losing narrowly to India in the ACC U19 Asia Cup semi-finals.
Afghanistan, placed 10th two years ago, will be led in the UAE by Nasir Jamal. Zia-ur-Rehman and Sayed Shirzad took eight wickets apiece for it in the recent ACC U19 Asia Cup, and will once again be relied heavily on.
Scotland, which finished 11th in 2012, has named Ross McLean its captain. The players that also featured for it the last time around are McLean, Gavin Main, Andrew Umeed and Nick Farrar.
Papua New Guinea, which finished 14th in this event two years ago, is appearing in the ICC U19 CWC for the seventh time. And, after claiming the East Asia Pacific U19 title to qualify for this tournament in July 2013, is looking to cause a few upsets.
Zimbabwe was 15th in Australia at the ICC U19 CWC 2012, but Malcolm Lake and his charges are looking for markedly better fortunes this time around. They will have a tough task to qualify from Group C, which also features South Africa, the West Indies and Canada.
Namibia, the 16th-place finisher at the ICC U19 CWC 2012, has been bolstered by the inclusion of several players that have also participated in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014 (CWCQ), including skipper Gerhard Erasmus, JJ Smit, Xander Pitchers and JP Kotze.
Finally, Canada failed to qualify for the last edition, but has earned the right to participate this time by winning the ICC Americas U19 Championship Division 1. It will be led by Nitish Kumar, who has batted well at the senior level, in the group stage of the ongoing CWCQ.
Nitish is the third-youngest player ever to feature in a One-Day International, having made his ODI debut at the age of 15. He is also the youngest to feature in an ICC Cricket World Cup, having turned out in 2011 a few months before his 17th birthday.
Afghanistan – Nasir Jamal (captain), Abdullah Adil, Fareed Malik, Hashmatullah Shaidi, Ihsanullah Janat, Mohammad Mujtaba, Munir Ahmad, Muslim Musa, Sayed Shirzad, Sayed Waheedullah Shafaq, Shahidullah Kamal, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Usman Ghani, Younas Khan Ahmadzai, Zia-ur-Rehman Akbar
Australia - Thomas Andrews, Ben Ashkenazi, James Bazley, Jake Doran, Matthew Fotia, Alex Gregory, Ben McDermott, Jaron Morgan, Damien Mortimer, Matthew Short, Kelvin Smith, Billy Stanlake, Cameron Valente, Guy Walker, Sean Willis
Bangladesh – Mohammad Mehidy Hassan Miraz (captain), Abu Hider Rony, Joyraj Sheik Imon, Jubair Hossain, Litton Kumer Das, Mohammad Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mohammad Noor Alam Saddam, Mohammad Shadman Islam, Mohammad Zakir Hasan, Musaddek Hossain Saikat, Nihad-uz-Zaman, Rahatul Ferdous Javed, Saeed Sarker, Yasir Ali Chowdhury
Canada – Nitish Kumar (captain), Sudeepta Aurka, Gurkaran Dhillon, Nikhil Dutta, Farhan Malik, Amanpal Gillar, Stephan Joseph, Aniket Joshi, Armaan Kapoor, Abraash Khan, Trevor Manoosingh, Stephan Rajasingam, Yug Rao, Talha Shaik, Keenen Tinto
England - Will Rhodes (captain), Ed Barnard, Joe Clarke, Ben Duckett, Harry Finch, Matthew Fisher, Miles Hammond, Ryan Higgins, Rob Jones, Rob Sayer, Josh Shaw, Dominic Sibley, Jonathan Tattersall, Jack Winslade, Luke Wood
India – Vijay Zol (captain), Ankush Bains, Ricky Bhui, Aamir Gani, Akhil Herwadkar, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Karan Kaila, Avesh Khan, Sarfaraz Khan, Monu Kumar, Chama Milind, Sanju Samson, Atit Sheth, Kuldeep Yadav
Namibia – Gerhard Erasmus (captain), Kobus Brand, Jano Coetzee, Marius Delport, Michau du Preez, Zane Green, Joshuan Julius, Jaen Kotze, Malan Kruger, Xander Pitchers, Wayne Raw, JJ Smit, Tiaan Snyman, Ricardo Strauss, Bredell Wessells
New Zealand – Robert O’Donnell (captain), Jeremy Benton, Leo Carter, Henry Collier, Josh Finnie, Shawn Hicks, Jack Hunter, Kyle Jamieson, Ken McClure, Brett Randell, Tim Seifert, Dane Watson, Kurtley Watson, Raki Weerasundara, Luke Williamson
Pakistan – Sami Aslam (captain), Ameer Hamza, Hasan Raza, Hussain Talat, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Rafiq, Irfanullah Shah, Kamran Ghulam, Karamat Ali, Mohammad Aftab, Saifullah Khan, Salman Saeed, Saud Shakeel, Zafar Gohar, Zia-ul-Haq
Papua New Guinea – Dogodo Bau (captain), Kiplin Doriga, Sakavai Gebai, Riley Hekure, Hiri Hiri, Mea Jimmy, Allan Joseph, Kabua Morea, Alei Nao, Micah Pokana, Nosaina Pokana, Raho Sam, Gaudi Toka, Anthony Vare, Tom Willie
Scotland - Ross McLean (captain), Alex Baum, Ryan Brown, Will Edwards, Michael English, Nick Farrar, Chayank Gosain, Gavin Main, Zander Muir, Abdul Sabri, Chris Sole, Kyle Stirling, Andrew Umeed, Mark Watt, Stu Whittingham
South Africa - Aiden Markram (captain), Bradley Bopp, Corbin Bosch, Dirk Bruwer, Kirwin Christoffels, Justin Dill, Clyde Fortuin, Dayyaan Galiem, Sibonelo Makhanya, Greg Oldfield, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Ngazibini Sigwili, Jason Smith, Yaseen Valli
Sri Lanka – Kusal Mendis (captain), Minod Bhanuka, Hashan Dumindu, Binura Fernando, Anuk Fernando, Kavindu Kulasekara, Lakshan Jayasinghe, Ramesh Mendis, Priyamal Perera, Harsha Rajapaksha, Hashen Ramanayake, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Thilaksha Sumanasiri, AK Tyronne, Hashan Vimarshana
United Arab Emirates – Rohit Singh (captain), Shorye Chopra, Dan D’Souza, Moaaz Ayub, Mohammad Hamid, Justin James, Shiv Mehra, Omer Rizwan, Waruna Perera, Dhurva Praveen, Pankaj Samant, Shahrukh Ahmed, Sunair Khan, Chirag Suri, Shivank Vijayakumar
West Indies – Ramaal Lewis (captain), Fabian Allen, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Bryan Charles, Tristan Coleman, Jonathan Drakes, Shimron Hetmyer, Jerome Jones, Ray Jordan, Brandon King, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Gudakesh Motie, Nicolas Pooran, Jeremy Solozano
Zimbabwe – Malcolm Lake (captain), Deven Bell, Ryan Burl, Herbert Chikomba, Kieran Geyle, Joylord Gumbie, Shoun Handirisi, Dylan Hondo, Luke Jongwe, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Charles Kunje, Patrick Mambo, Tarisai Musakanda, Cuthbert Musoko, Mkhululi Nyathi
The player eligibility criteria can be found by clicking here.
The following releases will go out later this month:
25 Jan – ICC U19 CWC UAE 2014 tournament overview – teams, format and venues
26 Jan – History of the ICC U19 CWC
27 Jan – The UAE as one of the world’s major cricket destinations
28 Jan – Current senior stars that featured in past ICC U19 CWC editions remembering their time – Part 1
29 Jan - Current senior stars that featured in past ICC U19 CWC editions remembering their time – Part 2
30 Jan - Excitement the name of the game at the ICC U19 CWC – a look back at some classic, thrilling encounters
The releases will be available here as well as in the Online Media Zone.