Dubai: Aryan Lakra, named as the captain of the UAE team for the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2020, says his team has a good balance and will not be in awe of reputations during their campaign.
The event will take place in South Africa from January 17-February 9 next year.
Speaking to Gulf News on chances of his team producing a good show, Lakra said: “We have a good combination. All the players that have been picked into the squad are performing consistently in whichever matches we are playing. This is exactly what we want before we fly to South Africa.”
The UAE are drawn into Group D alongside Afghanistan, Canada, and hosts South Africa and their opening match will be on January 18 against Canada at Bloemfontein’s Mangaung Oval.
Asked about their chances, Lakra said: “I’m looking at all the teams the same way because any team could have a good day or a bad day in the field. We aren’t thinking about any team being a tough opponent. We will try and give our best against everyone.”
For Lakra, the news that he would be leading the UAE team in the World Cup came on the eve of his 18th birthday like a gift.
In a way, he earned the berth as he was the star performer in the qualifier that fetched the UAE a place in the Under-19 World Cup.
Lakra had won three consecutive Player of the Match awards and also bagged the prestigious Player of the Series award.
“It is indeed a great feeling to be leading a side in a World Cup and I am honoured to be doing so. I would like to thank Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) for believing in me,” said the left-handed batsman Lakra, who in the qualifiers scored 120 runs from five games and bagged 13 wickets with his left-arm spin to emerge as the leading wicket-taker of the series.
The ECB have ensured that preparations begin early for this team and they are training with the UAE senior team at the ICC Academy now. Players like Vriitya Aravind, Karthik Meiyappan and Jonathon Figy have even been drafted into the senior team as part of ECB’s plans to give exposure to youngsters at the earliest.
UAE squad: Aryan Lakra (C), Vriitya Aravind, Osama Hassan, Alishan Sharafu, Wasi Shah, Akasha Tahir, Karthik Meiyappan, Sanchit Sharma, Ansh Tandon, Mohammad Faraazuddin, Jonathon Figy, Ali Naseer, Kai Smith, Chathiyan Dashan and Rishab Mukherjee.