U-16s TO CHALLENGE


The fixtures for the ACC U-16 Challenge Cup in Penang, Malaysia in July have been set. Participating teams will be vying for a top two finish to gain promotion to the Elite division of the U-16s.

Afghanistan, 2008 ACC U-17 Challenge Cup winners

Groups A’s Afghanistan have put in strong performances in recent age-group tournaments, winning the 2008 ACC U-17 Challenge Cup, finishing runners up in the 2009 ACC U-19 Elite Cup and qualifying for the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup 2010. At senior and youth-level therefore, all other teams in the competition are quite some way behind ODI nation Afghanistan but Bhutan have quite a track record at age-group Challenge events and they for one, are “confident of taking on Afghanistan”, says Coach Ugyen Dorji. “We have been training since December and have 21 players currently which we have to trim to 14. The team is completely new but we have been playing 40-over matches against local opposition and if we can bat 40 overs in the ACC tournament, we should do well,” he added. Maldives and Brunei complete Group A.

Bhutan, finalists at the last ACC U-15 Challenge

In Group B all teams have a possibility of topping the group. Oman were 2006 ACC U-15 Challenge Cup winners and 2008 ACC U-17 Challenge Cup runners-up and are quite likely finalists, but they will face stiff competition from Iran, Myanmar and also China. China’s U-16 Coach Manjural Islam says, “We are currently strengthening our squad but once it’s finalized, we will work very hard. Training will begin shortly and I will gauge skill levels.”

The ACC U-16 Challenge Cup 2010 is Penang Cricket’s third international tournament after the 2005 ACC U-17 Cup and the ICC U/19 World Cup 2008. The two venues for ACC U-16 Challenge Cup, University Sains Malaysia and Penang Sports Club, hosted Australia, Namibia, Nepal and Sri Lanka in the ICC U/19 World Cup.

Penang Sports Club

Penang Cricket President V. Murali says, “As far as development of a cricketer goes, this is an important tournament since it is now the starting point for the age-groups. We are very excited to be hosting eight teams and we will operate on the same high standards which we set at the ICC U/19 World Cup.”

U-16 competitions have replaced the ACC U-15 and U-17 tournaments which have been running since 2000. The reasons are threefold. First, to fall in line with standard international youth sport which in many instances have representative tournaments at U-16 level and not both U-15 and U-17 level. Second, to minimize duplication of resources on what proves to be the same set of players at both U-15 and U-17 level, such are the relatively small numbers of elite level players in a number of member countries. Third, with age-group tournaments played under an age-verification program which sets a player’s bone-age and not calendar age as the determining factor for participation, again, the fact that X-ray measurements offer several months’ margin on their protocols (MRI scans being inaccessible and prohibitively expensive in many instances) mean that making a clear distinction between an U-15 and an U-17 player is not always possible.

Fixtures

GROUP A GROUP B
Afghanistan China
Bhutan Oman
Maldives Myanmar
Brunei Iran

Schedule:
July 11 Afghanistan v Brunei
China v Iran
July 12 Myanmar v Oman
Bhutan v Maldives
July 13 Bhutan v Brunei
Afghanistan v Maldives
July 14 China v Myanmar
Iran v Oman
July 15 Afghanistan v Bhutan
Brunei v Maldives
July 16 Iran v Myanmar
China v Oman
July 17 SF1: A1 v B2
SF2: A2 v B1
July 18 7th/8th Playoff: A4 v B4
5th/6th Playoff: A3 v B3
July 19 FINAL: Winners SF1 v SF2
3rd/4th Playoff: Losers SF1 v SF2

Filed May 18th, 2010