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The time to deliver has arrived: Ijaz Ahmed

  • Urdu feature is attached here

Potchefstroom, 17 January 2020: Pakistan U19 team hit the ground running a day after arriving in Potchefstroom as the team underwent a strenuous training and practice session at the North West University Sports Village, Potchefstroom on Thursday.

The team is on a high after convincing wins in the two warm-up games against Nigeria and Sri Lanka during their five-day stay in Pretoria. They start their ICC U19 Cricket World Cup campaign with a match against Scotland in the NWU Sports Village vicinity on Sunday 19 January.

The high altitude of the Potchefstroom venue provides a different challenge to the players and the squad spent nearly three hours in a bid to acclimatise to the conditions.

Head coach Ijaz Ahmed gave a detailed account of the team’s preparations as they head into the most prestigious age-group ICC event. 

Ijaz Ahmed said: “Our priority is to top our group and stay in the city as the team which finishes second would have to travel to Johannesburg. So we want to stay here, get totally familiarised with the conditions and progress to quarter-final and beyond in Potchefstroom.

“We played our first warm-up game a day after we arrived in the country. I feel the bowlers were a bit stiff and wayward in that game. In the second match our bowlers Amir Khan, Tahir Hussain, Aamir Ali and Abbas bowled well, support bowlers Fahad and Qasim Akram also delivered and we won the game.

“Our first game was against Nigeria and it was a straightforward game for us as we got them out for 109 runs. The batsmen were not challenged much and we called back opener Haider Ali after he had scored a quickfire 50. It was almost a 10-wicket win for us.

“Our game against Sri Lanka challenged us but Fahad Munir played really well for us and we also called him back after he reached his 50. Mohammad Haris batted really well also besides Haider’s contribution at the top of the innings.

“These players have had a great camp at the NCA and they have been working hard since we have landed in South Africa. Now, the time to deliver has arrived!”

Pakistan will train today and on Saturday before their game against Scotland. Their second match is against Zimbabwe on Wednesday, 22 January followed by the third and final group match against Bangladesh on Friday, 24 January. All three games will be played in Potchefstroom.

Pakistan ICC U19 Cricket World Cup squad:

Rohail Nazir (captain and wicketkeeper), Abbas Afridi (Peshawar), Abdul Wahid Bangalzai (Quetta), Amir Ali (Larkana), Amir Khan (Peshawar), Arish Ali Khan (Karachi), Fahad Munir (Lahore),  Haider Ali (vice-captain), Qasim Akram (Lahore), Mohammad Haris (Peshawar), Mohammad Huraira (Sialkot), Mohammad Irfan Khan (Lahore),  Mohammad Shehzad (Multan), Mohammad Wasim Jnr (North Waziristan), Tahir Hussain (Multan)

Team management – Ijaz Ahmed (head coach-cum-manager), Rao Iftikhar Anjum (bowling coach), Abdul Majeed (assistant coach), Saboor Ahmad (trainer), Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rasul (physiotherapist), Usman Hashmi (analyst), Emmad Ahmed Hameed (media manager) and Col (retd) Usman Riffat Anwari (security manager).