U-19 cricket World Cup starts

February 15th, 2008 - 3:22 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 15 (IANS) The much-awaited seventh under-19 cricket World Cup got underway at Kinrara Oval here Friday. “This event is designed to be a finishing school for young cricketers,” said International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Malcolm Speed.

“It’s an opportunity for these young players to test their skills in a full ICC tournament environment against their peers from around the world,” he added.

Speed also said that the u-19 World Cup has been a great platform for future stars and some of the current players like Inzamam-ul-Haq, Brian Lara, Yuvraj Singh, Graeme Smith, Sanath Jayasuriya and many other fine players began their international careers on this stage.

“And I have no doubt that before us today there is the next generation of cricketers who will excite and thrill us in future Test matches and ODIs,” he said.

Speed added that the tournament will train the young cricketers to deal with the spotlight and will help their all-round development.

“It’s about receiving education on matters of anti-corruption and anti-doping, it’s about learning how to cope with questions from the media and generally being in the spotlight. It’s about managing to perform to the best of your ability in the midst of all the necessary distractions that go along with events like this. In short, it’s about becoming well-rounded sportsmen,” said Speed.

Along with the ten full members and the host Malaysia, Nepal (Asia), Ireland (Europe), Bermuda (Americas), Namibia (Africa) and Papua New Guinea (East Asia-Pacific) have qualified from their regions.

Pakistan is the only team to have won back-to-back titles at this level, having triumphed in 2004 and 2006 in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, respectively, and will now aim to make it a hat-trick as it goes into the event as top seed.

The winner from 2000, India, is seeded second, with Australia (winners in the inaugural event back in 1988 and also in 2002) seeded third and England (winners in 1999) fourth.

The 16 teams have been divided into four groups with the top two teams progressing to the Super League quarter-finals while the two bottom teams from each group qualify for the Plate Championship quarter-finals.

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 across the three cities.

The first round of the matches will have eight teams playing Sunday.

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