Hosts Sri Lanka Cricket welcomed the eight participating nations of the Under-19 Asia Cup to enjoy world class facilities as the tournament was launched in Colombo on Wednesday. The ten day long tournament will get underway on Thursday with defending champions India taking on Kuwait and Pakistan playing Afghanistan.

Press Conference
U-19 Asia Cup Trophy

Tournament Director Bandula Dissanayke told participants that objective of the Asian Cricket Council was to 'create an opportunity for region's young stars to showcase their skills' during the event.

India along with Pakistan will be the favourites to win the championship.

“The boys have put in a tremendous effort over the last few weeks and now they are looking forward to showcase their skills,” India skipper and wicketkeeper batsman Dhruv Chand Jurel told journalists.

His Pakistani counterpart Rohail Nazir is also a wicketkeeper batsman. Pakistan have momentum behind them having beaten South Africa 7-0 in South Africa last month.

“This team has been together for about six months and we are very confident leading into the competition having won 7-0 in South Africa. About 80 percent of the players who were part of that squad are here,” Nazir told journalists.

Hosts Sri Lanka despite having a good school cricket structure have always underperformed in global events and captain Nipun Dananjaya was confident that his team will be able to put up a good show this time around.

“Very pleased with our preparation in the last few weeks. We played quite a few warm-up games. Lot of confidence behind us moving forward,” he commented.

Afghanistan will be the surprise package in the competition having won the event once. There is very little school cricket being played in Afghanistan but players are quite matured as they learn the tricks of the game playing with and against older players.

“We have had constant exposure in the last six months lead up to this event. We had a series against India and South Africa and I am sure we will be competitive in the tournament,” Afghan skipper Farhan Zakhil commented.

The player to watch out during the tournament will be Nepal captain Rohit Paudel, who turned 17 on earlier this week. The middle order batsman has already featured in six ODIs and four T-20 Internationals for Nepal's senior side.

“The experience playing for the senior team has been fantastic and I am looking forward to contribute for my team in the Under-19 Asia Cup,” Paudel commented.

While the five Test playing nations qualified automatically for the Under-19 Asia Cup, three teams – UAE, Nepal and Kuwait – had to come through after playing a qualifying round in Malaysia.

India are pooled alongside Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kuwait while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates and Nepal are in another group.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals.The final will be played on the 14th September at R. Premadasa Stadium, the venue for the 2012 ICC World T-20.

Three other Test grounds in and around Colombo – CCC, P. Sara Oval and Moratuwa will host group matches along with FTZ Grounds in Katunayake.


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Filed September 4th, 2019