THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 27, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:08 AM, January 27, 2016

THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW

MIRAZ, Bangladesh

Appearance: Tenth
Best finish: Fifth (2006)
Except for India, this Bangladesh team has managed to score convincing wins against every team they played in the last two years. South Africa were brushed aside both at home and away, while England and the West Indies felt their wrath as well. Skipper Mehedi Hasan Miraz will be playing his second World Cup, and there are many talented players in this group who have already played first-class cricket. With so much going on, this could be the team’s best opportunity to surpass previous records.

 

 


ZORZI, South Africa

Appearance: Eleventh
Best finish: Champions (2014)
Unlike their seniors, the South Africa u-19s were able to recover after having been so close, yet so far. Having finished runners-up in 2002 and 2008, they took home the silverware in the last edition. What will give captain Tony de Zorzi most confidence however, is that they won the tournament in the UAE, in conditions that were not too different from what they face here. They are a shoo-in to top their group as long as they can fight off the challenge from the home side.

 

 


FLACK, Scotland

Appearance: Seventh
Best finish: Eleventh (2012)
In their seventh appearance in the showpiece event, captain Neil Flacks’ aim is to finish in the top eight, which would be their best result, three better than  2012’s eleventh place. In a group that also includes home side Bangladesh and defending champions South Africa, their best hope of glory may be limited to a win against Namibia. Their 21-run win over debutants Fiji in the warm-up game, however, does not inspire much confidence.

 


GREEN, Namibia

Appearance: Eighth
Best finish: Eleventh  (2008)  
Namibia made it through to the World Cup after they won the Africa Under-19 Championship Division. They have got a talented player in skipper Zane Green thanks to whom they finished on top of the table with eight points and won four of their five matches. Soon after, they lost to Zimbabwe in a series and also lost to their neighbours in the warm-up encounter here. While they haven't played top sides regularly, they will hope they can do better than their eleventh place finish in 2008.

 

 


HAFEEZ, Pakistan

Appearance: Eleventh
Best finish: Champions (2004,2006)
If there is one team that should be brimming with confidence, it’s Pakistan, led by Gauhar Hafeez. They were runners-up in the last edition and more importantly, they won when the Under-19 World Cup was last held in Bangladesh in 2004. They also have form on their side as they finished on top in the recently concluded tri-series in the UAE which involved Australia and New Zealand. Sri Lanka will be the only threat in their group as they are expected to beat Afghanistan and Canada easily.

 

 


ASALANKA, Sri Lanka

Appearance: Eleventh
Best finish: Runners-up (2000)
One of the sides that will enjoy the conditions in Bangladesh, the spin-reliant Sri Lanka will be one to watch. Their group seems to be simple enough at first glance, with only Pakistan -- on paper at least -- appearing to be a threat. Afghanistan, however, may be a banana skin for Sri Lanka -- skippered by Charith Asalanka -- who would do well to be wary if they are to equal their best result. Perhaps this year, like their seniors did in the ICC World Twenty20 on these shores in 2014, they will go one better.

 

 


IHSANULLAH, Afghanistan

Appearance: Fourth
Best finish: Seventh (2014)  
With the senior team making valuable inroads, don't be surprised if Afghanistan Under-19 springs a few shockers in the World Cup. They beat their Pakistani counterparts in October 2014 and they will be facing the same opponents in the group stages. So it isn't a surprise that their captain Ihsanullah, younger brother of national player Nawroz Mangal, was brimming with confidence during the pre-World Cup press conference. “We can finish on top. We dream of winning the trophy,” he had said.

 

 


ABRAASH, Canada

Appearance: Fifth
Best finish: Eleventh (2010)  
The Canadians will enter this competition with an aim to better their previous best finish. Their skipper Abraash Khan exuded confidence during the pre-tournament press conference and believed that the side had the capability of making it to the second round. Abraash and Co. will be inspired by the fact that some of their countrymen have been making inroads into the professional world of cricket. Off-spinner Nikhil Dutta for instance, played in the Bangladesh Premier League recently.

 

 


TAYLOR, England

Appearance: Eleventh
Best finish: Champions (1998)
Following England's 97-run defeat to Bangladesh in the warm-up match, skipper Brad Taylor admitted that they were a bit taken aback by the conditions here. The skiddy, low deliveries from the slower bowlers seemed to take them by surprise. However, the visitors did give the hosts a run for their money by removing their top order early, which reflected their ability to adapt to the conditions quickly. Having won the competition back in 1998, Taylor hopes England can end their drought.

 

 


HETMYER, West Indies

Appearance: Eleventh
Best finish: Runners-up (2004)
West Indies have not had much joy in this tournament -- the best being a runners-up finish in 2004 -- and if they are anything like their seniors, they will not be too adept at playing spin. But the roll of the dice favoured captain Shimron Hetmyer as their groupmates -- England, Zimbabwe and Fiji -- will probably not boast much quality in their respective spin departments. They also have the additional boost of having held defending champions South Africa to a tie in their warm-up game.

 

 


MAVUTA, Zimbabwe

Appearance: Tenth
Best finish: Sixth (2004)
They have the good fortune of being in the most open group of the tournament. With England looking out of sorts in the warm-up against Bangladesh and West Indies lacking consistency, Zimbabwe skipper Brandon Mavuta will look at progression from the group as the first aim for the embattled southern African nation. They seem to be a cut above the qualifiers as their eight-wicket win, with 166 balls to spare, against Namibia in their warm-up would testify, so brushing aside Fiji shouldn’t be a problem.

 

 


TUITOGA, Fiji

Appearance: First
Best finish: N/A
It's always an exciting moment for any team that plays their first ever major competition and Fiji will be hoping they can make a name for themselves. Prior to their arrival in Bangladesh, the team spent two gritty weeks at the Sunshine Coast back home, playing on turf wickets. It was a sort of training that, according to Cricket Fiji's Chief Executive Officer Setoki Galuvakadua, tested them both mentally and physically. Setoki is confident that his boys will be able to cause an upset in the World Cup.

 

 


KISHAN, India

Appearance: Eleventh
Best finish: Champions (2000, 2008, 2012)
They aced the World Cups in 2000, 2008 and 2012 and are one of the favourites to win it again this year. They thrice beat Bangladesh convincingly at home last year during a tri-series and seem to be the team to beat. With Australia out of the group, things have become a bit easier for them. There however, might be quite some pressure on young skipper Ishan Kishan. Having won the last competition four years ago, many expect this side to bridge that gap.

 

 


FINNIE, New Zealand

Appearance: Eleventh
Best finish: Runners-up (1998)
The senior team have been making waves through their unrelenting aggression, but the juniors are a world away from home comforts in the subcontinent. They warmed up for the World Cup by playing a tri-series against Australia and Pakistan in the UAE, winning two matches and losing two. Their captain Josh Finnie wants to adopt the seniors' brand of fearless cricket, and it will be interesting to see how they go about doing that in conditions that don't suit their style.

 

 


TECTOR, Ireland

Appearance: Eighth
Best finish: Tenth (2010)  
A late decision from Cricket Australia afforded Ireland an opportunity to represent their nation on the big stage. Despite their late entry, the Irish seem ready to make the most of this chance. They have got a difficult group, being pitted against India and New Zealand. However, they can look to beat Nepal, a side they lost to in Malaysia during the qualifiers. It was a defeat which had ended their hopes of playing the World Cup. However, as fate would have it, they now have a chance to get one back.

 

 


RIJAL, Nepal

Appearance: Seventh
Best finish: Eighth (2000)
Nepal last qualified for the Under-19 World Cup in 2012, but they made up for their absence in 2014 by winning the qualifying tournament this time. They have also retained 12 players who helped them qualify, so team harmony should not be a problem for captain Raju Rijal. A 65-run loss to Sri Lanka in the warm-up game, in which they restricted the more vaunted side to 230, showed that they are no mugs and a win against Ireland is not impossible.

Compiled by Star Sport Desk

 

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