Men’s U-19 World Cup bowls off in Guyana on Friday
History will be created on Friday when the 14th edition of the ICC Men’s Under-19 Cricket World Cup, hosted in the Caribbean for the first time, bowls off at two venues in Guyana.
At the National Stadium, Providence, West Indies will take on Australia, while over at the Everest ground, Sri Lanka will take on Scotland. Both games will bowl of at 09:00h.
These teams and along with four others- India, South Africa, Ireland and Uganda- have been in Guyana over the past weeks involved in practice sessions and warm-up games ahead of the official bowl-off this weekend.
Tournament Director, Fawwaz Baksh, in an exclusive interview with News Room Sport, indicated that all systems are in place for the official start of the global event.
“We’re in an excellent position for the first match,” Baksh stated.
“All the teams are very excited to play in this tournament and they’re very excited to be in the West Indies.”
Traditionally, Baksh highlighted, the ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup has been one of the most “logistically challenging” tournament, and that has been compounded by the presence of COVID.
The Omicron variant, the Tournament Director pointed out, provided its own challenges to the organisers and that meant having rigid dialogue with governments to ensure players got to the Caribbean safely.
Baksh stated that the experience of hosting and participating in series and tournaments in a bio-secure environment in the Caribbean over the past two years has proven invaluable in the execution of this World Cup.
“The difficulty is we’ve never had 16 teams here in a bio-secure environment, and that in itself is a challenge,” Baksh asserted.
The tournament will have 48 matches over 22 days, with a winner crowned on February 5.
The teams are split into four groups of four teams, with Scotland the last team to join the competition, replacing New Zealand who withdrew from the tournament in November.
Ten teams (Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe) were automatic qualifiers for the tournament, by virtue of their finish at the 2020 edition of the tournament.
Ireland and Uganda were regional qualifiers from Europe and Africa qualifiers respectively, with Canada, PNG and UAE all progressing to the tournament from their regions after their qualifying tournaments were cancelled due to COVID-19.
The three teams were selected on the basis of them securing the most wins in the last five Under-19 qualifying events in each respective region.
ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup Groups
Group A: Bangladesh, Canada, England, UAE
Group B: India, Ireland, South Africa, Uganda
Group C: Afghanistan, Pakistan, PNG, Zimbabwe
Group D: Australia, Scotland, Sri Lanka, West Indies
Bangladesh are defending champions, defeating India by three wickets in a rain-affected final in Potchefstroom two years ago.