ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014 Preview: India face arch-rivals Pakistan in tournament opener
India Under-19 side defeated Pakistan recently in the ACC Under-19 Asia Cup. Photo Courtesy – Vijay Zol’s Facebook Profile.

 

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

 

Feb 14, 2014

 

The India under-19 open their ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014 campaign with a crunch encounter against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

 

Historically, Pakistan under-19 have had an edge over their neighbours in the World Cup. However, India’s victory during their last encounter in 2012 and in the recent Asia Cup triumph will hold them in good stead.

 

Nevertheless, the under-19 World Cup starts off with a bang with these two big sides clashing. It should set the tone for a tournament that is a cradle of young cricketing talent.

 

India under-19 are one of the favourites for the tournament as they have been a strong side in the matches in the lead-up, despite having lost their warm-up match against Sri Lanka.

 

Captain Vijay Zol and Akhil Herwadkar were a part of the 2012 side that won the World Cup. This time, they have a host of promising players.

 

Sanju Samson leads the list with Zol. The duo is going to be a crucial factor to India’s success as they have some senior experience. Samson has been retained by Rajasthan Royals and has made a name for himself on a big stage. Whereas, Zol has been a revelation in domestic First-Class cricket.

 

While they may be the bigger names in this side, they have enough firepower to do well. Sarfaraz Khan, the youngest member of the side has dazzled with his hard-hitting batting lower down the order. He also contributes with his leg-spin. Shreyas Iyer, Ricky Bhui and Ankush Bains are other batsmen who can contribute.

 

India under-19 have a few options in the bowling as they have Kuldeep Singh Yadav, who was a part of the Mumbai Indians. Chama Milind, who made it to the Sunrisers Hyderabad side this year, is a left-arm pacer. Avesh Khan, Deepak Hooda and Aamir Gani are some of the other bowlers. India under-19 have settled on this combination for some time with Sarfaraz also rolling his arm over.

 

The only thing is that this side has been beaten in both their warm-up encounters. In both games, the batting was a bit slow to get going and couldn’t give their bowlers too many runs to defend. Having said that, most batsmen got starts and that is somewhat encouraging. Nothing much can be said about the bowlers as they would need a longer run.

 

Pakistan under-19 would want to avenge their defeat of the Asia Cup last month. They have had a contrasting start to their campaign in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as they won both their warm-up encounters in convincing fashion. Sami Aslam, the captain, is a known name and is the leader of their batting. Opening the innings with him is Imam-ul-Haq, who is the great Inzamam-ul-Haq’s nephew.

 

They have numerous bowlers as well, led by Zia-ul-Haq. Mohammad Aftab and Irfanullah Shaikh are the other pacemen in their team.

 

So, there would be pressure on both sides for this contest. Perhaps, India may feel it a little more as they have lost their warm-ups. But, it is time to put it behind and move forward.

 

 

Squads:

 

India under-19 (probable): Vijay Zol (c), Akhil Herwadkar, Ankush Bains (wk), Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Ricky Bhui, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Avesh Khan, Aamir Gani, Chama Milind, Kuldeep Yadav, Atit Sheth, Monu Kumar, Karan Kaila.

 

Pakistan under-19 (probable): Sami Aslam (c), Imam-ul-Haq, Hasan Raza, Saud Shakeel, Kamran Ghulam, Ameer Hamza (wk), Imran Rafiq, Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Umair, Karamat Ali, Zia-ul-Haq, Irfanullah Shaikh, Safiullah Khan, Mohammad Aftab, Amad Butt.

 

Time: 11:00 IST | 05:30 GMT

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)