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India start u-19 Cup opener on confident note

The team, fresh from their successful tour of South Africa, is among the favourites to win the title, which they had last won in 2000. HT takes a look on the upcoming U-19 world cup.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Kuala Lumpur
UPDATED ON FEB 16, 2008 11:17 PM IST

A CONFIDENT India will kick off their Under-19 cricket World Cup campaign against East Asia-Pacific qualifier Papua New Guinea in a Group B clash at Kinrara Oval on Sunday.

The team, fresh from their successful tour of South Africa, is among the favourites to win the title, which they had last won in 2000.

The batsmen were in excellent form in South Africa and India would bank on captain Virat Kohli, Saurav Tiwary, Manish Pandey, Abhinav Mukund and Pradeep Sangwan to post healthy totals on the board.

Kohli is confident that his team would live up to expectations.

"I don't feel the pressure too much from back home. For me it is a matter of pride to serve my country. Hopes are high and the boys have the talent. I think we can do it," Kohli said.

The 16 participating teams have been divided into four groups with the top two progressing to the Super League quarterfinals while the two bottom-placed teams from each group qualifying for the Plate Championship quarterfinals.

A total of 44 matches, including 24 in the first round, seven in the Super League and 13 in play-offs will be played at seven venues in the tournament, stretching up to two weeks.

In other matches on the opening day, defending champions Pakistan will play hosts Malaysia in Group A, Australia are pitted against Namibia in their Group C match and in Group D England take on Ireland.

Pakistan captain Iman Wasim is itching to secure an unprecedented hattrick of wins at this level after their title triumphs in 2004 and 2006.

"To represent one's own country at international level has always been a dream which has come true now. Winning the U-19 World Cup for the third time in a row will be a huge challenge because there is a lot of talent out there. But we will play to win and only to win," Wasim said.

With the likes of Umar Amin, Umer Akmal, Ahmed Shahzad and Adil Raza already showing good form in the warm-up games, Malaysia will have their work cut out to threaten the strong Pakistanis.

Pakistan are the top seeded team while their arch-rivals and 2000 winners India are seeded second. Australia (winners in the inaugural event back in 1988 and also in 2002) are seeded third and England (winners in 1999) fourth.

Here's a look at the future of India (U-19 World Cup Squad)

Virat Kohli

One of those players blessed with immense talent, Kohli blazed his way to the Delhi Ranji team when he was just 18. A player who likes to smack the ball right from the start, Kohli is one of the pillars of this Indian team. A superb fielder, Kohli has recently added useful seam-ups to his repertoire.

Abhinav Mukund

Part of a young Tamil Nadu team that did not exactly set the Ranji Trophy on fire Abhi bats left-handed and boasts a half-century against South Africa under-19s. The son of a prominent Ranji cricketer, Abhi admires Rahul Dravid for his defensive technique, and spends his spare time reading books and listening to music.

Ajitesh Argal

Another one from a cricketing family, Argal's father and brother have both represented Bhopal. As a fast bowler he has noteworthy idols in Allan Donald and Kapil Dev, who he admires for their physical fitness and longevity. If he wasn't playing cricket Ajitesh would have gone on to become an engineer.

Shreevats Goswami

A star of the triangular Under-19 series held recently Goswami clocked scores of 104, 97 and 77 against Bangladesh, South Africa and Sri Lanka respectively, Goswami wants to be just like Adam Gilchrist when he grows up. A sports junkie, Goswami would have tried to make a career in football had he not struck gold in cricket.

Tanmay Srivastava

One of the veterans of this team, Srivastava has scored runs not just in his age-group but also in the Ranji Trophy, including a century in the final in 2008. An attacking left-hand batsman, Srivastava picks Rahul Dravid as his idol for his ability to lead from the front.

Taruwar Kohli

A right-hand batsman and a medium-pacer, Jalandhar's Taruwar Kohli shone in the North Zone Vinoo Mankad Tournament. Captaining Punjab, he scored 308 runs at an average of 61 in six matches and picked up eight wickets. His highest score was 110 not out against UP.

Ravindra Jadeja

A sharp fielder in the point region and a flashy batsman, it's no surprise Jadeja looks up to Yuvraj Singh. He's another in this team with plenty of experience, having played first-call cricket and also been a part of the Challenger Series, and played for West Zone.

Saurabh Tiwary

Three half-centuries for India Under-19 ensures that Tiwary booked himself a spot on the play to Malaysia for the World Cup, but his real big knock came in first-class cricket when he cracked 169 for Jharkhand against Jammu and Kashmir in the Ranji Trophy. If he wasn't a cricketer, he's be a social worker.

Duvvarappu Siva Kumar

He's not yet played first-class cricket but Siva Kumar, who has done well enough in junior tournaments in Andhra to catch the eye hopes his mediumpace and right-hand batting will be good enough to one day earn him an India spot.

Pradeep Sangwan

The latest in the line of tall fast bowlers so much in vogue in Indian cricket at the moment Sangwan is in the running for an India spot, forget about junior cricket. His 33 wickets in seven first-class games have shown that he has the performance to back up the potential.

Siddharth Kaul

No cricketer in this squad has more connections in the game - Siddharth's father and uncle were both first-class cricketers and his brother now plays for Punjab. He took five wickets in his first Ranji Trophy match, but says that if he can't make it to the highest level as a player would like to be involved as a commentator or journalist.

Napoleon Einstein

A young batsman who was drafted into first-class cricket simply for the amount of time he seemed to have to play the ball, this young man is a rare grafter in a team of dashers. The extremely unlikely combination of first name and surname are likely to make him a headline writer's dream.

Perry Goyal

Perry Goyal only began playing cricket when he was 12 but was soon crashing a century for Punjab against Delhi in the Polly Umrigar under-15 tournament.

Iqbal Abdullah

A left-arm spinner who can certainly hold a bat, Iqqi made his debut for Mumbai after against Karachi Urban but his versatility as a bowler has meant that he has succeeded even in Twenty20 cricket. Although he worships his Mumbai team-mate Sachin Tendulkar Abdullah craves the accuracy of Daniel Vettori.

Manish Pandey

Although he bats right-handed, and bowls offbreaks, it is Matthew Hayden that gets Manish's juices flowing. Although he hasn't played first-class cricket yet, Pandey's hard hitting saw him score his runs at a strike rate of nearly 125 in domestic Twenty20 matches.

Schedule

Sun 17

Group C - Australia Under-19s v Namibia Under-19sPenang Sports Club

Group D - England Under-19s v Ireland Under-19sBayuemas Oval, Kuala Lumpur

Group B - India Under-19s v Papua New Guinea Under-19sKinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur

Group A - Malaysia Under-19s v Pakistan Under-19sJohor Cricket Academy Oval

Mon 18 Group D - Bangladesh Under-19s v Bermuda Under-19sBayuemas Oval, Kuala Lumpur

Group C - Nepal Under-19s v Sri Lanka Under-19sPenang Sports Club

Group A - New Zealand Under-19s v Zimbabwe Under-19sJohor Cricket Academy Oval

Group B - South Africa Under-19s v West Indies Under-19sKinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur

Tue 19

Group C - Australia Under-19s v Nepal Under-19sUniversity Sains Malaysia, Penang

Group D - Bermuda Under-19s v England Under-19sRoyal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur

Group B - India Under-19s v South Africa Under-19sKinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur

Group A - New Zealand Under-19s v Pakistan Under-19sInstitute Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim, Johor

Wed 20

Group D - Bangladesh Under-19s v Ireland Under-19sBayuemas Oval, Kuala Lumpur

Group A - Malaysia Under-19s v Zimbabwe Under-19sInstitute Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim, Johor

Group C - Namibia Under-19s v Sri Lanka Under-19sUniversity Sains Malaysia, Penang

Group B - Papua New Guinea Under-19s v West Indies Under-19sRoyal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur

Thu 21

Group D - Bermuda Under-19s v Ireland Under-19sRoyal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur

Group A - Malaysia Under-19s v New Zealand Under-19sJohor Cricket Academy Oval

Group C - Namibia Under-19s v Nepal Under-19sUniversity Sains Malaysia, Penang

Group B - Papua New Guinea Under-19s v South Africa Under-19sKinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur

Fri 22

Group C - Australia Under-19s v Sri Lanka Under-19sPenang Sports Club

Group D - Bangladesh Under-19s v England Under-19sRoyal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur

Group B - India Under-19s v West Indies Under-19sKinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur

Group A - Pakistan Under-19s v Zimbabwe Under-19sInstitute Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim, Johor

Sun 24

9th Place Play-off Quarter-Final - TBC v TBCInstitute Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim, Johor3rd group C v 4th group A

9th Place Play-off Quarter-Final - TBC v TBCJohor Cricket Academy Oval3rd group A v 4th group C

Quarter-Final - TBC v TBCKinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur winner group B v runner-up group D

Quarter-Final - TBC v TBCBayuemas Oval, Kuala Lumpur winner group D v runner-up group B

Mon 25

9th Place Play-off Quarter-Final - TBC v TBCInstitute Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim, Johor3rd group B v 4th group D

9th Place Play-off Quarter-Final - TBC v TBCJohor Cricket Academy Oval 3rd group D v 4th group B

Quarter-Final - TBC v TBCKinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur winner group A v runner-up group C

Quarter-Final - TBC v TBCRoyal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpurwinner group C v runner-up group A

Tue 26

13th Place Play-off Semi-Final - TBC v TBCInstitute Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim, Johor

9th Place Play-off Semi-Final - TBC v TBCJohor Cricket Academy Oval

Wed 27

5th Place Play-off Semi-Final - TBC v TBCRoyal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur

9th Place Play-off Semi-Final - TBC v TBCInstitute Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim, Johor

Semi-Final - TBC v TBCKinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpurwinner QF1 v winner QF3

Thu 28

5th Place Play-off Semi-Final - TBC v TBCBayuemas Oval, Kuala Lumpur

Fri 29

13th Place Play-off Semi-Final - TBC v TBCJohor Cricket Academy Oval

Semi-Final - TBC v TBCKinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpurwinner QF2 v winner QF4

March 2008

Sat 1 13th Place Play-off - TBC v TBCInstitute Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim, Johor

Sat 1 5th Place Play-off - TBC v TBCBayuemas Oval, Kuala Lumpur

Sat 1 9th Place Play-off - TBC v TBCRoyal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur

Sun 2 Final - TBC v TBCKinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur

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