Pakistan Under-19 lost to India by 202 runs    AFP
Pakistan Under-19 lost to India by 202 runs Getty Images

Karachi: Pakistan under-19 team manager Nadeem Khan today said his side’s crushing loss to eventual champions India in the World Cup semifinals could be a result of magic art. Nadeem, a former Test player, told the media on returning from New Zealand that the way the players performed against India, it seemed as someone had cast a magic spell on them.

“We were confident that it would be a close match but as the match progressed and our batting went down for 59 it made one wonder if there was a magic spell on the team,” Nadeem said. “It appeared as if our batsmen had no idea what was happening out on the field or how to tackle the situation and pressure.”

India, after outclassing Pakistan, went on to beat Australia in the final and win the U-19 World Cup for a record fourth time. Nadeem, who toured India in 1999 with the Pakistan Test squad, appreciated the gesture of the Indian team coach Rahul Dravid to later visit the opposition dressing room and boost the morale of the players.

“It was a very nice gesture only confirming Dravid’s stature in our eyes,” Nadeem said. The former spinner, who is the elder brother of Moin Khan, admitted that a lot of work needed to be done to improve youth cricket in Pakistan.

“I wouldn’t say our performance was satisfactory even though we managed to make the semifinals. Compared to previous youth teams the current generation of junior players lacked in many areas,” he added.