Babar Azam to lead Pakistan in U-19 World Cup
Pakistan's Under-19 World Cup squad is largely unchanged from the one that was joint-winner of the recently concluded U-19 Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur. Seventeen-year old left-arm-spinner Zafar Gohar replaces legspinner Akhtar Waheed in the only change in the 15-man squad. Babar Azam will continue to the lead the side for the tournament to be played in August.
Pakistan have been pooled in Group B in the 16-team competition along with New Zealand, Scotland and Afghanistan. They will reach Australia earlier to play the hosts in a series of three one-day matches to adapt to the conditions. They will then play warm-up matches against England and Papua New Guinea on August 7 and 8 respectively before their first group match on August 11 against Afghanistan.
The squad also features Usman Qadir, son of former Pakistan legspinner Abdul Qadir, who is expected to return to action next week after picking up a finger injury in the Asia Cup.
"We have decided to stick with the similar squad to avoid pressing panic button," Haroon Rashid, youth development manger at NCA and team manager, told ESPNcricinfo. "With a similar squad we have been playing successfully and everyone is confident and in form.
"We have a wonderful opportunity to play a series against the hosts before going into the World Cup games. Pitches and the outfield are generally harder in Australia so the matches (three one-dayers) will help our bowlers to adapt to the conditions in a better way.
"The combination overall is balanced. They have produced good results since the South Africa tour earlier this year as each and every boy is responding and contributing to the team success."