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Pakistan U19 captain Saad Baig eyes glory in the U19 World Cup

  • Saad Baig’s video interview available here
  • Urdu version of the media release attached here

Lahore, 19 January 2024: Pakistan U19 skipper Saad Baig, who hails from Karachi, is hopeful of leading his team to glory in the U19 showpiece event in South Africa. Saad has led Pakistan U19 in 17 One-Day matches where the team ended up winning 10 games. A southpaw by trade and an agile wicketkeeper behind the stumps, Saad is known for being a cool and calm character on the field.

He started his career at Customs Cricket Academy in Karachi and was part of their touring party on the trip to India. He received a lot of support from his parents and straightaway impressed in the PCB’s Under-13 Regional Tournament 2018-19 where he scored 128 runs and bagged four dismissals behind the stumps. He was the leading run-scorer in the National U16 One-Day Tournament 2019-20, accumulating 206 runs in four games.

Saad had a stellar run in the year 2022 where he was the second leading run-scorer in the National U19 One-Day Cup, pouched eight catches and stumped one batter. He was rewarded with a call-up to Pakistan U19 for the home series against Bangladesh U19 and was appointed captain of the team.

He led Hyderabad Hunters in the Pakistan Junior League as well. After the tournament, he joined Sindh in the Cricket Associations Challenge 2022-23, a One-Day Cup for second XI sides, and scored 315 runs in 10 games while also becoming the third-best wicketkeeper with 11 dismissals.

In a chat with PCB Digital, Saad shared how he picked up the sport and progressed leaps and bounds, “My father used to play cricket and he took me to the academy. My first breakthrough was an U15 tour to India where I did very well with the bat and gloves. It gave me a lot of confidence to excel at all age group levels. I believe if you are exposed to quality cricket at the club level and good coaches, then you can kickstart a great career. My alma mater, St Paul’s High School, has also played a great role where my coach Sir Lenny used to train me even in summer breaks.”

Saad brings stability to the middle-order and has shown the ability to bat for longer periods while also churning runs at a healthy rate. He stitched an unbeaten 125-run partnership with Azan Awais in a successful chase against India U19 in the ACC Men’s Asia Cup 2024. Behind the stumps, Saad has a trusted pair of hands which provides confidence to all bowlers. His decision-making is deemed sound as he commands respect from his teammates.

Saad will be hoping to contribute to Pakistan’s success by being on top of his game in all three facets – batting, leadership and wicket-keeping.

Saad is aware of Pakistan’s 17-year-long U19 World Cup trophy drought and looks excited to bring back the trophy home. “I’m glad the PCB has trusted me with the leadership role of a very talented bunch of players,” he said. “The journey so far has been very good and I want to continue making fine memories. My next goal is to win the U19 World Cup for Pakistan as I know it’s been a long time since we lifted that trophy in 2006.”