Dubai: UAE Under-19 cricket team will aim to stun Asia’s top cricketing nations in the eighth edition of the Under-19 Asia Cup, set to get under way in Sri Lanka on September 5.
Th team, led by Karthik Meiyappan, is in Group B alongside Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal while Group A is made up of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kuwait.
Speaking to Gulf News from Sri Lanka, Shah Hussain, the UAE team’s assistant coach, said: “If our boys can play to their potential we are confident to surprise the big teams. We had two weeks of training during the coaching camp in UAE and for the last five days, we have been training hard. We have already two practice matches though the last one got rained off.”
India have dominated the competition, having won the title on five occasions since its inception in 1989. The tournament will kick off with Pakistan taking on Afghanistan in the opener at the P. Sara Oval ground while the final is scheduled for R. Premadasa Stadium on September 14.
UAE’s confidence stems from the fact that they are the ones who have qualified for the Under-19 World Cup, to held in South Africa during January-February 2020. “After qualifying for the Under-19 World Cup, our boys have improved further and have prepared well for this tournament. We have players like Wasi Shah, Vritiya Aravind, Ansh Tandon and Alishan Sharafu, who have been performing consistently, while in the bowling front we have captain Karthik who bowls leg spin, off spinners Rishab Mukherjee and Mohammad Farazuddin.
“It will be a good experience for the boys. We have prepared well to take on teams like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. In fact the other group is stronger with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.” Incidentally, the clash between India and Pakistan is scheduled for September 7.
UAE squad: Kartik Meiyappan (Captain), Ansh Tandon (Vice Captain), Mohammed Haider Shah, Vritiya Aravind (WK), Alishan Sharafu, Osama Hassan, Mohammed Farazuddin, Ashwant Valthapa, Sanchit Sharma, Akasha Tahir, Tasin Rehman, Anand Kumar, Aaron Benjuman, Rishab Mukherjee and Niel Lobo.