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Afghanistan’s Under-19 team will train at Lahore for three weeks © Getty Images (Representation photo)

 
Lahore: Jan 10, 2014

 

Afghanistan’s Under-19 cricket side arrives in Pakistan this weekend to train with the hosts’ elite academy coaches in preparation for next month’s World Cup.

 

The Afghans will train at the National Cricket Academy in the eastern city of Lahore for three weeks as they tune up for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 tournament in the UAE, which starts on February 14.

 

They will also play eight practice matches against various teams, including three against Pakistan Under-19 at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, the Pakistan Cricket Board  (PCB) said on Friday.

 

Afghanistan face Australia, Bangladesh and Namibia in the group stage of the tournament and will be hoping for a better show than in 2012 when they won only one match and failed to qualify for the knockout stages.

 

The Afghan youngsters caused an upset at the Asian Cricket Council Under-19 Asia Cup last month, beating Sri Lanka before going down to Pakistan in the semi-final.

 

Pakistan has played a pivotal role in Afghanistan’s fairytale rise in international cricket, having helped them with coaches, training facilities and allowing them to play in their domestic cricket in the past.

 

The game was popularised in Afghanistan by refugees who learned it in camps in Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of the 1980s.

 

Afghanistan have earned a maiden qualification for the ICC World Cup 2015  (50 overs) to be held in Australia and New Zealand.

 

They will also feature in the 2014 World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March-April, their third appearance since earning their first berth in the 2010 event held in the West Indies.