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After defeating Sri Lanka U19 by nine wickets in the one-off four-day game at National Bank Stadium, Karachi, Saad Baig-led Pakistan U19 will lock horns with the visitors in the five-match one-day series, set to be played at the same venue from 22 to 31 October.
Saad also captained the Pakistan U19 team on their tour to Bangladesh earlier this year. Arafat Minhas, Mohammad Ibtisam, Mohammad Ismail, Shamyl Hussain and Shahzaib Khan, who were part of the Bangladesh tour as well, will also be featuring in the One-Day series at home. In Bangladesh, Shahzaib scored 264 runs in five matches, including a century and two half-centuries. Saad had 119 runs in five games, including a half-century. Arafat scored 70 runs and picked eight wickets. Mohammad Ismail got five wickets in five games.
In the ongoing National U19 Cup, Shahzaib mounted 142 runs in three matches while playing for Abbottabad. Saad, playing for Karachi Whites, accumulated 115 runs in four matches. Ismail, in two appearances for Multan, grabbed six wickets. Peshawar’s Najab Khan registered 199 runs in four matches. Aftab Ahmed, playing for Abbottabad, returned with 13 wickets in four matches. Ali Raza picked up five wickets in two games while representing Sialkot. Faisalabad’s Mohammad Ibtisam and Abbottabad’s Mohammad Riaz Ullah have both picked up four wickets in four matches. Sialkot’s Mohammad Tayyab Arif scored 66 runs in two matches. Shamyl Hussain, representing Islamabad, scored 119 runs in four matches.
The last time Pakistan U19 and Sri Lanka U19 faced one another in the 50-over-format was during the ICC U19 World Cup 2022, where Pakistan won by 238 runs. The last time the two sides met in a bilateral series was back in 2019, when Pakistan U19 toured Sri Lanka for a five-match one-day series. The series was won by Pakistan by a margin of 3-2.
Saad, while speaking to PCB, highlighted how the four-day win has helped the team’s confidence. “We have had a confidence boost because of how dominant our victory was [in the four-day match],” he said, “I hope the [one-day] matches go similarly for us.”
Reflecting on the changes in the side for the one-day series, Saad said, “The combination of the team is still intact as all of us have been playing domestic cricket together. Our focus is on winning the games ahead.”
Talking about his captaincy tenure over the past year, Saad explained, “The team has been performing well and we have had success during the Bangladesh tour where we won the series in all three formats. We have won the four-day comprehensively as well. So it gives me hope that we will continue to do well.”
“We have match-winners in the team. I expect all my players to perform and win us the games, whenever they are required. We are looking at this series as preparation for the World Cup in January.”
Sineth Jayawardene, the touring captain, explained that his team is looking to bounce back after losing the four-day. “I think it is a different format, I know the boys will do well in the one-day games as we are here to win the series,” he told PCB.
“I think the boys are in a good position. The hopes and expectations [in the camp] are high,” he added, “We will do our best. These matches are really important for us. Pakistan are a great side so getting the opportunity to face them [ahead of the World Cup] is good for us as well.”
“It feels great to be playing in Pakistan. [The conditions] are similar to Sri Lanka. Even the hospitality, the security and the food!”
Pakistan U19 One-Day squad: Saad Baig (captain and wicket-keeper), Aftab Ahmed, Ahmed Hussain, Ali Raza, Arafat Minhas, Hamza Nawaz, Haroon Arshad, Mohammad Ammar, Mohammad Huzaifa, Mohammad Ibtisam, Mohammad Ismail, Mohammad Riaz Ullah, Mohammad Tayyab Arif, Najab Khan, Naveed Ahmed Khan, Shahzaib Khan, Shamyl Hussain and Ubaid Shah
22 October – First One-Day
24 October – Second One-Day
27 October – Third One-Day
29 October – Fourth One-Day
31 October – Fifth One-Day