Dubai: The rising stars of world cricket have arrived in Australia to take part in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 Cricket World Cup, which will be held from Saturday to August 26 in Queensland.
The event was officially opened in Brisbane on Tuesday with the captains of all 16 countries competing in the ninth edition of the tournament assembling for a photo shoot with the coveted trophy.
Over the years the event has produced 46 players, who have gone on to become record holders and icons of the game from full member countries, including 26, who went on to captain their respective countries.
All eyes will be on Australia, who will aim to defend the title they won in New Zealand in 2010, when they beat Pakistan in the final. They have some talented players like South Australia’s top order batsman Travis Head, who scored 219 runs in four first-class matches this year, and New South Wales’ middle-order batsman Kurtis Patterson, who scored 157 against South Australia on his debut at the SCG in November last year.
Pakistan, who lost to Australia in the final of the inaugural event in Australia in 1988 as well as in 2010, have retained the same side that was declared joint winner with India in the Asia Cup final in Kuala Lumpur on July 1 after the match ended in a tie.
India will be skippered by Delhi opener Unmukt Chand, who has scored 738 runs in 11 first-class matches.
The England squad have 10 players who have played first-class cricket, while West Indies have Test opener Kraigg Brathwaite and Trinidad’s left-arm fast bowler Derone Davis, who is a cousin of West Indies stars Darren and Dwayne Bravo.
Group B, which is made up of Pakistan and New Zealand alongside rising nations Afghanistan and Scotland, is likely to be the group of death as it can throw up a few surprises. Afghanistan and Scotland have tremendous young talents and will try to prove their abilities in this tournament.
The Pakistan will be led by Babar Azam who, along with Usman Qadir, also played in the 2010 edition. Sri Lanka, who have the best schools cricket culture, have selected some of their outstanding players in the squad.
Draw (rankings in brackets)
New Zealand (7)
West Indies (3)
Papua New Guinea (15)
Sri Lanka (4)
South Africa (5)