Afghanistan U-19s in Toronto, September 2009

Afghanistan, by finishing second in the ten-team ICC U/19 World Cup Qualifier in Toronto, and Hong Kong, by finishing sixth, are among the teams going through to join Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe in the 16-nation U/19 World Cup to be played in New Zealand next year.

Afghanistan arrived late in Canada following a delay in acquiring their visas, and started with a loss but soon showed their ability whereas Hong Kong came into the reckoning only at the last after a series of early losses. “It’s a great achievement for the youth development programs of both countries and to have both of them through from Asia is evidence of a lot of good work being done,” said ACC Development Manager Bandula Warnapura.

“Both teams have around four months to prepare for the tournament against the top teams and the ACC will do its best to prepare them for the matches they’ll have in New Zealand,” says Mr. Warnapura. New Zealand’s conditions traditionally favour seam-bowling more than spin, though the Test and ODI series New Zealand played against India at home from March to April 2009 showed that wickets can be prepared to make things more balanced towards the batsmen.

Hong Kong U-19s in Toronto, September 2009

Afghanistan will inevitably have to do a significant part of their preparation away from home, while Hong Kong will be able to make use of their new turf playing and training facilities. “Two in the U/19 World Cup was our target. Them doing well there is our next target,” says the ACC Development Manager. Afghanistan and Hong Kong proceed to New Zealand with four other non-Test playing countries: qualifier champions Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Canada and USA.

Hong Kong and Afghanistan are the top two U/19 teams in the ACC region by virtue of contesting the final of the 2009 ACC U-19 Elite Cup.

In previous U/19 World Cups, Nepal have beaten Bangladesh, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa and Malaysia have beaten Zimbabwe.

ICC U/19 World Cup Qualifier Statistics
Afghanistan Country Profile
Hong Kong Country Profile

Filed Sep 14th, 2009