Pakistan U16 to tour Bangladesh next month

LAHORE (APP): Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday announced the schedule for Pakistan U16 cricket team’s tour to Bangladesh. During the three-week visit, the future stars of Pakistan cricket will play two three-day and three 50-over matches.

The squad would depart for Dhaka on April 25 and open the tour with a three-day match in Fatullah on April 29. It would conclude with the third 50-over match in Khulna on May 15. In this relation, a training camp will start at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore from 31 March and will be attended by the 26 probables who were selected for this year’s series against Australia in Dubai. The squad for the Bangladesh tour will be announced in the second week of April.

The PCB has organised this tour as part of its strategy to not only revive but lay special emphasis on youth cricket, which was a pathway to senior cricket. Earlier in January, Pakistan U16 had competed against Australia U16 in Dubai, winning the 50-over series 3-2 as well as the one-off T20.

Furthermore, this tour in collaboration with the Bangladesh Cricket Board, has also been arranged looking ahead to the ACC U19 Asia Cup Bangladesh 2018, which will be staged from September 29 to October 7, as well as the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020, which will be played in South Africa from January 17 to February 9, 2020. Discussions with a number of other Boards on youth series as part of the Pakistan U19 cricket team’s build-up and preparations for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 were ongoing, and more details will be announced in due course.

PCB Director International, Zakir Khan, said: “This series is a stepping stone for the U16 players for the upcoming high profile series and future events. The Pakistan U16 side displayed a good account of themselves against Australia U16 in Dubai, and now it is their opportunity to further hone their skills against an equally tough side in Bangladesh in different conditions.”

Umer Eman was the top-scorer for Pakistan in Dubai when he finished with 159 runs in five matches, while Ahmed Khan was the most successful bowler of the series with 13 wickets. He was followed by Faisal Akram (10 wickets).

Zakir Khan added: “The PCB has scheduled two three-day games as we are keen on providing an environment to our batsmen at a very young age where they can learn the art and technique of playing longer innings, and, at the same time, allow the bowlers to bowl long spells and fight tooth and nail for wickets. The longer and shorter versions of the game have to progress alongside each other so that in the longer run, we can produce sides that are equally strong at both red and white ball cricket.

“Youth cricket is a pathway to senior cricket and features very prominently in the PCB’s cricket strategy. In coming weeks, we are confident that we will make further announcements on junior tours programme, which will provide more opportunities to the talented teenage cricketers to gain experience and exposure, and at the same time be best prepared to take a shot at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020, which we last won under our present national captain Sarfaraz Ahmed in 2006,” he said.

PCB Director Academies Mudassar Nazar said: “We have prepared a robust training schedule for the U16 probables, which includes a number of matches – both longer and shorter versions. This programme has been designed to give them a taste of what they will get in Bangladesh and also to improve their match fitness standards.” “Special focus is on three-day matches as these lads have never played this format of the game. You have to make a beginning from somewhere, and this might well happen here under the watch of highly-qualified and committed coaches,” he asserted.

Tour schedule:

April 29– 1 May – Three-day match, Fatullah

May 5-7 – Three-day match, Khulna

May 10– 1st 50-over match, Khulna

May 12 – 2nd 50-over match, Khulna

May 15– 3rd 50-over match, Khulna

Probables – Abdur Rehman (Abbottabad), Ahmad Khan (Abbottabad), Afzal Manzoor (Sialkot), Ali Hassan (Sialkot), Ali Asfand (Faisalabad), Aliyan Mehmood (Karachi), Amir Hassan (Rawalpindi), Arham Nawab (Faisalabad), Aseer Mughal (Rawalpindi), Ayaz Shah (FATA), Faisal Akram (Multan), Farhad Khan (FATA), Ibrar Afzal (Lahore), Haseebullah (Quetta), Kashif Ali (Karachi), Khalid Khan (Quetta), Mohammad Hasnain Sabir (Rawalpindi), Mohammad Latif (FATA), Mohammad Shehzad (Multan), Mohammad Waqas (Faisalabad), Muneeb Wasif (Lahore), Masood Ahmed (Quetta), Rizwan Mahmood (Hyderabad), Sameer Saqib (Faisalabad), Umer Eman (Lahore) and Zubair Shinwari (FATA).

Schedule of practice matches at the NCA:

2-5 April – Three-day practice match

8 April – 50-over match

9 April – 50-over match

11-13 April – three-day match.