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U-19 World Cup a great platform for budding players: Azhar Ali

U-19 World Cup a great platform for budding players: Azhar Ali

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan ODI skipper Azhar Ali believes the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 World Cup is a great platform for budding players as it helps them showcase their talent and make a mark in world cricket.

The U-19 World Cup will take place in four Bangladesh cities from Feb 27 to March 14 and will feature nine Test-playing nations and seven Associate and Affiliate members — Afghanistan, Canada, Fiji, Ireland, Namibia, Nepal and Scotland.

Azhar, a frontline batsman who played in the 2002 U-19 World Cup, said it was an important tournament for any ambitious youngster.

“This tournament offers an opportunity to throw the young ones in the deep end and assess their future potential,” Azhar was quoted by an ICC press release as saying.

The U-19 World Cup gives young players a huge chance to showcase their talent and make their mark, he said. “Those who perform are noticed by their respective selectors and that is why so many of us who first featured in the U-19 World Cup have gone on to become senior pros.”

He further said that the U-19 World Cup gave youngsters the feel of international cricket. “It makes one realise the importance of representing their nation,” he maintained.

With the U-19 global event, around the corner, like Azhar other cricket stars including England Test captain Alastair Cook and New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum also recalled how their participation in the tournament had helped them develop as cricketers.

Cook, who played in the 2004 edition in Bangladesh, said representing your country at a World Cup is a huge honour and a special occasion for players, coaches and families.

“The World Cup is a great opportunity for players to test themselves against the best in the world,” he said.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who played in the 1998 tournament in South Africa, said he looks back at the tournament as a step up from anything he had played in beforehand.

“The senior team will be closely following the performance of the young New Zealand cricketers in Bangladesh,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2016

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