The six-nation ICC U19 World Cup Asian Qualifiers are all set to take place at Malek Grounds 1 and 2 and Eden Gardens in Ajman, United Arab Emirates. The tournament features six participating countries including the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, and Singapore. The competition will be held from February 24 to March 2, with the aim of securing a spot in the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup to be hosted by Sri Lanka in 2024. The teams have already arrived and started training at various venues, and are also participating in warm-up games.
The hosts, United Arab Emirates, will be facing Malaysia in the opening round of the qualifiers at Malek Ground 1. Meanwhile, Kuwait will be facing Hong Kong at Malek Ground 2, and Eden Gardens will be the venue for the Nepal-Singapore match. UAE captain Aayan Khan played a crucial role in UAE’s victory in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2020 with a knock of 93 against West Indies. The UAE team was selected based on the performances of its domestic cricketers, some of whom even competed in franchise leagues with top international cricketers.
Nepal, on the other hand, will be captained by Dev Khanal, who led the country’s Under-19 team at the ACC Under-19 Asia Cup in Sharjah in 2021. The Hong Kong team was selected based on impressive results in domestic cricket, according to coach Jawaid Iqbal, Ahan Trivedi. The Kuwaiti team has an average age of 16.5 years and is captained by Jude Saldanha. They competed in the ICC Under-19 Qualifiers in Division 1 and did well. In addition, they participated in the Under-19 Asian Cup three times.
Singapore, captained by Jeevan Santhanam, are unbeaten in the ICC CWC, having qualified for the October 2022 Asian Division 2 Championship. Malaysia will host the 2019 ICC Asia Under-19 World Cup Qualifiers, led by Karthik Rajaratnam. A strong team was assembled based on excellent performances in the Malaysia Quadrangular T20 series and the national under-50 team qualifiers.
The ICC has also released the tournament officials and schedule for the event. The referees for the event are Wendell Labrooy Tournament (Referee), Asif Yaqoob (Mentor) & (Referee), Buddhi Pradhan (Referee), Shiju Sam Mannil (Referee), Rahul Asher (Referee), Vinod Babu (Referee), Kalidas Viswanadan (Referee), Tabarak Dar (Judge), RV Venkatesh (Judge), and Harikrishnan Pillai (Judge).
The schedule for all the matches is as follows, with all matches starting at 9:00 a.m.:
February 24: UAE vs Malaysia (Malek Ground 1), Kuwait vs Hong Kong (Malek Ground 2), Nepal vs Singapore (Eden Gardens)
February 25: Malaysia vs Singapore (Malek Ground 1), Nepal vs Kuwait (Malek Ground 2), Hong Kong vs UAE (Eden Gardens)
February 27: Hong Kong vs Nepal (Malek Ground 1), UAE vs Singapore (Malek Ground 2), Kuwait vs Malaysia (Eden Gardens)
February 28: UAE vs Kuwait (Malek Ground 1), Malaysia vs Nepal (Malek Ground 2), Singapore vs Hong Kong (Eden Gardens)
March 2: Singapore vs Kuwait (Malek Ground 1), Hong Kong vs Malaysia (Malek Ground 2), Nepal vs UAE (Eden Gardens)