Dubai, Jan 8 (IANS) The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday confirmed that 16 teams will battle it out in the U-19 World Cup starting later this month. The 11th edition of the tournament will be held across eight venues in four Bangladesh cities from January 27 to February 14, and will feature nine Test playing countries as well as seven associate and affiliate members, namely Afghanistan, Canada, Fiji, Ireland, Namibia, Nepal and Scotland.
The tournament will open with the match between defending champions South Africa and hosts Bangladesh at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium (ZACS) in Chittagong. The final will be held at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. All matches will be day fixtures and the semi-finals and final will have reserve days. The squad list reveals that as many as 18 cricketers will take part in their second successive U-19 World Cup. Hosts Bangladesh have named five players who played in the previous event in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the side finished ninth. These players are Mehidy Hassan Miraz, who has been retained as captain, Najmul Hossain Chanto, Joyraj Sheik Imon, Zakir Hasan and Saeed Sarker. Afghanistan have retained four players from the 2014 tournament where the Asian side finished seventh. The four players are Ihsanullah Janat, captain for this month’s event, Muslim Musa, Waheed Shafaq and Zia-ur-Rehman Akbar. India, who have won the tournament thrice, have named three players to the squad that finished fifth in the last edition in the UAE. These are Sarfraz Khan, Ricky Bhui and Avesh Khan. However, defending champions South Africa — like England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe — will be appearing with a completely fresh set of players, though Dayyaan Galiem who will appear in this edition, was named in South Africa’s original squad for the 2014 event but was later withdrawn.
Both Ireland and Nepal are returning to the event after missing out in 2014. For both, it will be their seventh appearance. Coincidentally, both sides have retained 12 players each from the U-19 World Cup qualifiers, which was won by Nepal with Ireland finishing second. Fiji will be making their maiden appearance in the tournament after winning the East Asia-Pacific U-19 Cricket Trophy in Blenheim. They have retained 13 players from that successful campaign.