Naseem Shah included in Pakistan squad for Under-19 World Cup

Rookie pacer made his Test debut against Australia in Brisbane recently

Naseem Shah included in Pakistan squad for Under-19 World Cup PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

The National Junior Selection Committee has named an experienced 15-player Pakistan squad for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2020, which will be held in South Africa from January 17 to February 9.

Pakistan’s rookie pacer Naseem Shah, who made his Test debut against Australia in Brisbane, has been included in the squad for the mega event. He took four wickets in the Asia Cup, 12 wickets in South Africa and 18 wickets in four Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first-class matches this season.

In-form wicketkeeper-batsman Rohail Nazir has been retained as captain, while prolific opener Haider Ali has been appointed as vice-captain.

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Pakistan, the 2004 and 2006 champions and three-time runners-up, are placed in Group C of the 16-team event and will play Scotland in their opening match on January 19 in Potchefstroom.

Squad (players born on or after 1 September 2000 were eligible for selection)

Openers – Abdul Wahid Bangalzai (Quetta), Haider Ali (Rawalpindi), Mohammad Shehzad (Multan)

Middle-order batsmen – Mohammad Haris (Peshawar), Mohammad Huraira (Sialkot) and Mohammad Irfan Khan (Lahore)

Wicketkeeper – Rohail Nazir (captain)

All-rounders – Abbas Afridi (Peshawar), Fahad Munir (Lahore) and Qasim Akram (Faisalabad)

Spinners - Amir Ali (Larkana) and Arish Ali Khan (Karachi)

Fast bowlers - Amir Khan (Peshawar), Naseem Shah (Lahore) and Tahir Hussain (Multan)

Saleem Jaffar, chair of the junior selection committee, said: “I want to congratulate all the players on their selection in the Pakistan squad for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020.”

“I know some of the players will be disappointed at not being picked, but it was a tough task as we had a pool of some very exciting and exceptionally talented players to choose from. I would encourage all the players who have missed out on selection to remain positive and motivated as I am confident there will be opportunities for them down the road,” he added.

“Criteria for selection was current performances and meritocracy, and I am pleased it was a consensus decision. These players have been performing up to our expectations and I am hopeful they will carry their good form into the series and produce solid performances,” he further stated.

Pakistan’s second match will be against Zimbabwe at the Witrand Oval in Bloemfontein on Wednesday, January 22, while their third and final group match will be on January 24 at the JP Marks Oval against Bangladesh.

The top two teams from each of the four groups will advance to the Super League, while the remaining teams will feature in the Plate Championship. The Super League stage will commence from Tuesday, January 28 and the top four sides will qualify for the semi-finals, with the winners competing for the title on Sunday, February 9, in Benoni.