Babar Azam sends special message to U19 World Cup squad

Senior Pakistan players hoped that the side would stretch its last year’s form into the upcoming World Cup

Babar Azam sends special message to U19 World Cup squad PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan national men’s team extended best wishes to the Under19 (U19) side upon their departure to South Africa for the participation in the International Cricket Council (ICC) U19 Cricket World Cup.

The senior players hoped that the side will stretch its last year’s form into the World Cup and advised the players to make the most of the platform to make an impression and graduate to the apex level.

Babar Azam, the current Pakistan T20I captain who played the ICC U19 World Cup in 2010 and 2012, said: “I wish all the best to the U19 team. My message for them is to do well, like they have been doing recently. Help each other and believe in your teammates’ abilities.

“Our batsmen and bowlers are in good shape and after having played in South Africa, I would suggest the batsmen to stay upright while batting.

“Enjoy this opportunity and put your heart in it as it will enhance your performances.”

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Azhar Ali, the current Pakistan Test captain who played the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in 2002, said: “I wish all the best to this team and advise them to stick together as a unit and play fearless cricket.

“Playing the U19 W0rld Cup gives you a flavour of international cricket as the matches are televised and the players get to experience the pressure of international cricket. This is a great opportunity for these cricketers to learn, which will certainly help them when they graduate to the senior team.

“Rohail Nazir and Haider Ali have done well at the U19 level and they have impressed at the first-class level. When a player performs at the first-class level, it lifts his morale. If these two are able to stretch that form in the World Cup, the team will benefit immensely.

“These guys have done well on the previous tours and I am very hopeful of positive results in the World Cup.”

Naseem Shah, the recent graduate to the senior men’s side from U19 team, said: “I was recently playing with this side and I am hopeful that they are going to do well in the tournament. They are gelled very well and have good combinations, which will help them excel in the World Cup.

“I wish good luck to Rohail Nazir and his team.”

Shaheen Shah, who played the previous edition of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, said: “The way this team played in South Africa and won, I am hopeful that the U19 team will win the World Cup.

“U19 cricket grooms a cricketer. It happened with me as after the last World Cup, in which I was the highest wicket-taker [for Pakistan], I was picked up for the PSL and subsequently called-up for the senior side.

“This is a very good side and I wish them all the best. I have played with Rohail Nazir and Aarish Ali and I know they are very good players.”

Fakhar Zaman, who played U19 domestic cricket said: “Pakistan have a very good record at the U19 level and I am sure this team will do very well in the tournament.

“U19 level is very important for a player and such international tours help a great deal in the development of the players as they provide crucial opportunities to rub shoulders with the best cricketers.

“I have played domestic cricket with these players and they all are very talented and have proved themselves.”

Mohammad Hasnain, former Pakistan U19 player, said: “I wish all the best to the team and hope that they will do well. U19 cricket is a very important phase in the development as it teaches you the basics which help in graduating to the next level.

“My message to the team is to work hard and eye a spot in the national side.”

The Rohail Nazir-led side begin their ICC U19 World Cup 2020 campaign on January 19 against Scotland U19.

They will play Zimbabwe U19 and Bangladesh U19 on January 22 and 24 respectively in the group-stage.