Photo Credit: ICC
Six nations are all set to compete in the ICC Under-19 World Cup Asia Qualifier at the Malek Grounds 1 and 2 and Eden Gardens in Ajman. Hosts UAE, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal and Singapore will contest from February 24 to March 2 for a spot at the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup in 2024 scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka.
All teams have arrived here and have been training at the various grounds and also engaging in warm-up matches.
The first day’s action on February 24 will commence with hosts UAE taking on Malaysia at Malek Ground 1 while Kuwait will meet Hong Kong on Malek Ground 2. The Nepal-Singapore match will be held at Eden Gardens.
In the last edition of the Asia Qualifiers, UAE had qualified for the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2020 in South Africa. UAE is now being led by allrounder Aayan Khan, who played a pivotal role in the UAE emerging as the Plate winners in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2020 through his knock of 93 against the West Indies. The majority of players in the UAE squad have been picked based on their performance in UAE’s domestic cricket, with some of them having sparkled in franchise leagues playing alongside top international cricketers.
Nepal is being captained by Dev Khanal. He carries the experience of having captained the Nepal Under-19 team during the ACC Under-19 Asia Cup 2021 in Sharjah. With an eye to spot talent for this Asia Qualifiers, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) had organized an Under-19 Men’s National tournament from November 23 to December 5, 2022.
Hong Kong has arrived in the UAE for the Asia Qualifiers after a series of warm-up matches in Oman. They have selected a strong team based on certain criteria. Jawaid Iqbal, one of the coaches stated that the squad had been picked based on outstanding performances in domestic cricket. The team is being captained by the strong Kowloon Cricket Club’s Ahan Trivedi.
Kuwait remains buoyed by their under-19 cricketers’ impressive performances in recent years. They had played in Division 1 of the ICC Under-19 qualifiers and done well. They have also played in the Under-19 Asia Cup twice. Kuwait Cricket revealed that the average age of the present team was 16.5 years, and that such a team has been selected mainly to create a strong foundation for the squad in the coming years. On arrival, they practiced at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium and played a practice match too. The team is being captained by Jude Saldanha.
Singapore is being led by Jeevan Santhanam, one of their consistent performers. A fine allrounder, he has to his credit many match winning performances. In the ICC CWC qualifiers in October 2022 Asia Division 2 championshp, the team produced a sterling performance to remain undefeated. They are hoping for a repeat show in the UAE. Incidentally, in that tournament, skipper Jeevan Santhanam had emerged player of the tournament.
Malaysia had hosted the ICC Asia Under-19 World Cup qualifiers in 2019. Though they did not produce a strong performance, they have worked hard for this edition. The team is being led by wicketkeeper batsman Karthik Rajaratnam. The Malaysian Cricket Association had staged a Malaysia Qadrangular T20 series and a 50 over National Team selection matches. A strong squad has been picked from top performances in these matches.
The match officials for this event are: Wendell Labrooy Tournament (Referee), Asif Yaqoob (Mentor)& (Umpire), Buddhi Pradhan (Umpire), Shiju Sam Mannil (Umpire), Rahul Asher (Umpire), Vinod Babu (Umpire), Kalidas Viswanadan (Umpire), Tabarak Dar (Umpire), RV Venkatesh (Umpire) and Harikrishnan Pillai (Umpire).
Schedule: (All matches start from 9am)
Feb 24: UAE vs Malaysia (Malek Ground 1) Kuwait vs Hong Kong (Malek Ground 2) Nepal vs Singapore (Eden Gardens)
Feb 25: Malaysia vs Singapore (Malek Ground 1), Nepal vs Kuwait (Malek Ground 2), Hong Kong vs UAE (Eden Gardens)
Feb 27: Hong Kong vs Nepal (Malek Ground 1), UAE vs Singapore (Malek Ground 2), Kuwait vs Malaysia (Eden Gardens)
Feb 28: UAE vs Kuwait (Malek Ground 1), Malaysia vs Nepal (Malek Ground 2), Singapore vs Hong Kong (Eden Gardens)
Mar 2: Singapore vs Kuwait (Malek Ground 1), Hong Kong vs Malaysia (Malek Ground 2), Nepal vs UAE (Eden Gardens)
UAE: Aayan Khan (Capt), Aryansh Sharma, Aryan Saxena, Dhruv Parashar, Ethan D’Souza, Aayan Khan, Tanish Suri (Wicket Keeper), Ammar Badami, Harshit Seth, Harsh Desai, Harit Shetty, Monish Gajeswaran, Maroof Merchant, Omid Rahman, Deepak Gajraj.
Hong Kong: Ahan Trivedi (Capt), Aarez Dar, Abdul Samad Khan, Aliyaan Mohammad, Ansh Doshi, Aryan Chandrimani, Charlie Walsh, Daniel Morgan Mapp, Darsh Vora, Jayden Botfield, Mudassar Khan, Paraspreet Singh, Parth Bhagwat, Shiv Mathur
Kuwait: Jude Saldanha (Capt), Jay Mehta, Saud Mohamed Sadath, Janath Jeewanga, Talha Hassan, Ethan Cherian, Muhammad Shaheer, Henry Thomas, Het Kishore, Arsh Sahil, Gautham Poolakkal, Haiber Ali, Yusuf Sadiq Basha, Muhammad Aqif Farooq.
Nepal: Dev Khanal (Capt), Arjun Kumal, Dipak Bohara, Aakash Tripathi, Durgesh Gupta, Dipak Prasad Dumre, Hemant Dhami, Akash Chand, Dipesh Kandel, Bishal Bikram Kc, Subhash Bhandari, Milan Bohara, Deepak Bohara, Uttam Rangu Thapa Magar
Singapore: Jeevan Santhanam (Capt) Arjun Nagpal, Aryaveer Chaudhary, Abhuday Chhajer, Kabir Zandani Biren, Pranav Venkataraman Ramanatha Siva, Adwitya Bhargava, Pranav Nitin Maheshwari, Venkatesan Thiyanesh, Mahiyu Bhatia (Wicket Keeper), Aaryan Modi, Sidhanth Srikanth, Rahil Khan, Pratham Somani
Malaysia: Muhammad Akram (Capt), Muhammad Aras Azmi, Muhammad Syahir Syamael, Haziq Haiqal, Muhammad Azri Azhar, Mohammad Hairil (Wicket Keeper), Hamzah Panggi , Mohammad Hariz Afnan, Muhammad Aalif, Siddharth Neelakantan, Shivnarin Rahul, Sidharth Karthik, Muhammad Aiman Zaquan, Mohammad Faiz Fitri, Muhammad Akram