The team is very confident of doing well in the junior World Cup in January. They face Pakistan in the first match.
Afghan Under-19 Cricket Team Leaves for New Zealand
Afghanistan’s Under-19 national cricket team left Kabul for New Zealand on Sunday to play in the under-19 World Cup tournament.
This comes few weeks after Afghanistan's U-19 team returned home as champions retaining the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Under-19 Premier Cup title. The Afghan team won all its matches in that tournament. It was the second time that the team brought home the trophy.
In the run-up to the finals, Afghanistan beat Kuwait, Nepal, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
“Our team has made all necessary preparations to participate in the tournament. After our team returned home from the Asian championship, we held a training camp where we continued preparations. The team will compete in the World Cup games in full force,” said Atif Mashal, chairman Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB).
“Currently, we are focused only on the New Zealand World Cup. All our players have continued their training. We are grateful to the cricket board for sending us to New Zealand a month before the games,” said coach Andy Moles.
“After New Zealand, our team will be the second most powerful team in the world. It is good for the team to go a little bit early to get acclimatized in New Zealand and this will help us to play well,” said team captain Naween-ul-Haq.
Defending champions West Indies will begin their 2018 Under-19 World Cup campaign against hosts New Zealand in Tauranga on January 13, the opening day of the tournament. West Indies and New Zealand have been placed in Group A, along with South Africa and the Africa qualifier, Kenya. Tauranga will also host the tournament final, on February 3.
Sixteen teams will participate in the 2018 edition, including the five qualifiers - Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Canada, Afghanistan and Ireland. The ten Test teams [prior to Afghanistan and Ireland's elevation] and Namibia, who finished as the best Associate team in the 2016 edition, had gained automatic qualification.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the Super League, while the remaining eight teams will feature in the Plate competition. Twenty matches, including the Super League quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final, will be televised, with the final scheduled to be played at the Bay Oval in Tauranga. Both Super League semi-finals will be held at Christchurch's Hagley Oval.
The 11th edition of the Under-19 World Cup will be played across seven venues in four cities - Whangarei, Tauranga, Christchurch and Queenstown - over 22 days. This is the third time the tournament is being held in New Zealand, after 2002 and 2010.
Afghanistan has been placed in D group where it will compete with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Ireland.