Pakistan U19 are among one of the successful teams in the history of the ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup. They have won the tournament twice in 2004 and 2006. Moreover, Pakistan is the only team to defend the title at the U19 World Cup. They have made it to the final on five occasions previously.
The U19 World Cup 2022 is set to begin from January 14. Pakistan are placed in Group C along with Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe. For this edition in the West Indies, they will be led by all-rounder Qasim Akram. The side will be coached by the legendary Ijaz Ahmed.
As Pakistan look to regain their glory at the U19 World Cup, here are their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) January 8, 2022
Pakistan U19 have been in fairly good form coming into this tournament. In the recently concluded U19 Asia Cup, they finished at the top of their group with three out of three wins. However, they ended up losing to Sri Lanka U19 in the semi-final. Muhammad Shehzad was their top-scorer with 111 runs in three innings. Zeeshan Zameer was their leading wicket-taker with 11 scalps while Awais Ali and Ahmed Khan were also amongst wickets.
Pakistan’s squad also comprises of four players who took part in the previous edition of the U19 World Cup. Therefore, they have experienced names in the side. Apart from Shehzad, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, skipper Qasim Akram and Irfan Niazi are their main players for the tournament.
Thus, Pakistan U19 have a well-balanced and potential squad on paper. They also beat Bangladesh in the warm-up game and will look to carry the momentum.
Bowling has always been the score strength of Pakistan, be it the senior or junior team. However, their batting remains to be a concern. Pakistan U19 failed to chase a target of 148 against Sri Lanka in the U19 Asia Cup semi-final. Apart from Muhammad Shehzad, Qasim Akram and Ahmed Khan, none of the other batters performed well in the tournament. Their batting lacked consistency which is something they will need to work on in this U19 World Cup.
Pakistan are one among the favorites to do well in the tournament. They have made it to the finals of the U19 World Cup for five times. Therefore, they are certainly strong contenders. They will look to reach the final for the sixth time and claim their third title. After having finished in the semi-final of the U19 Asia Cup, Pakistan have a big opportunity to go one step ahead in the global tournament.
An upbeat Afghanistan side will the biggest challenge for Pakistan in their group stage matches. They cannot solely rely on their bowling to go all the way in the U19 World Cup. Their batters struggled in the Asia Cup and will need to rise to the occasion. The side will have to deal in a better manner with the pressure if they are to win their third title.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) January 10, 2022
Pakistan Squad for U19 World Cup 2022
Qasim Akram (c), Abdul Faseeh, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Ahmed Khan, Ali Asfand, Arham Nawab, Awais Ali, Faisal Akram, Haseebullah, Irfan Khan Niazi, Maaz Sadaqat, Mehran Mumtaz, Mohammad Shehzad, Rizwan Mehmood, Zeeshan Zameer.
Travelling Reserves: Ghazi Ghori (wk), Mohammad Zeeshan.
Pakistan U19 Fixtures
In their opening Group C match on January 15, Pakistan U19 will face Papua New Guinea. They then go on to play Afghanistan on January 20 and Zimbabwe on January 22 to wrap up their group stage fixtures.
Pakistan U19 Predicted XI
Abdul Wahid, Maaz Sadaqat, Muhammad Shehzad, Qasim Akram (C), Haseebullah (wk), Irfan Khan, Rizwan Mehmood, Ahmed Khan, Zeeshan Zameer, Arham Nawab, Awais Ali.
(Image Courtesy: Samaa TV)