The Under-19 Cricket World Cup is set to commence from January 14 and once again we will be witnessing players from every nation that could go on to become legends of their country.
For those who are not aware, New Zealand, who have featured in every ICC final in the senior category in the past seven years, will not be featuring in the U-19 World Cup due to mandatory quarantine restrictions.
They have been replaced by Scotland in Group D, which also comprises the hosts West Indies, Australia, and Sri Lanka. The tournament will be played in the Caribbean for the first time in 14 years as the hosts take on Australia.
The tournament is set to conclude on February 5, 2022. The defending champions are Bangladesh, who belong to group A with England, Canada, and UAE.
India, who are the runner-up of the last edition and four-time World Champions, are placed alongside South Africa, Ireland, and Uganda (Group B).
Group C contains Afghanistan, Pakistan, PNG, and Zimbabwe. Let's have a look at the top three contenders that are most likely to win the trophy this time.
The Indian U-19 team will be led by Yash Dhull. India commences their World Cup campaign with a match against South Africa on January 15 in Guyana, before they head to Trinidad and Tobago to face Ireland and Uganda on January 19 and 22.
We will witness 16 teams fighting in a total of 48 matches, and the top two teams from each group will progress to the Super League stage.
Teams that finish third or fourth in the group enter a Plate play-off. Have a look at India's squad for the World Cup. India, who have claimed the trophy four times will be looking to make no mistake this time, especially after a shambolic display against Bangladesh in the final of 2020.
Another team that will come as a heavyweight in the competition in Australia. Cooper Conolly is elected as the skipper to lead the charge from the front, and this will be his second U-19 tournament.
The 17-year-old Harkirat Bajwa is also named In the squad and he will be eligible to play the 2024 edition too. Australia take on the hosts in the tournament opener on January 14 in Guyana.
Post that they play Sri Lanka and Scotland in Basseterre. Let's have a look at their squad.
Australia U-19: Harkirat Bajwa, Aidan Cahill, Cooper Conolly, Joshua Garner, Isaac Higgins, Campbell Kellaway, Corey Miller, Jack Nisbet, Nivethan Radhakrishnan, William Salzmann, Lachlan Shaw, Jackson Sinfield, Tobias Snell, Tom Whitney, Teague Wyllie.
Stand by: Liam Blackford, Liam Doddrell, Joel Davies, Sam Rahaley, Aubrey Stockdale.
Australia will be another team to look for in the tournament as they are always a threat in any cricketing event.
Qasim Akram will be leading the Pakistan U-19 side in the U-19 World Cup this year. Abdul Bangalzai, Mohammad Shehzad, and Irfan Khan Niazi will be featuring in their second U-19 World Cup.
Pakistan play PNG first in Trinidad on January 15, and then they play Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. Let's have a look at Pakistan's squad for the World Cup.
Pakistan U-19: Qasim Akram (c), Abdul Faseeh, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Ahmed Khan, Ali Asfand, Arham Nawab, Awais Ali, Faisal Akram, Naseebullah (wicketkeeper, Irfan Khan Niazi, Maaz Sadaqat, Mehran Mumtaz, Mohammad Shehzad, Rizwan Mehmood, Zeeshan Zameer.
Apart from Pakistan, even England possesses a strong side, and don't forget the defending champions Bangladesh who can produce another spectacular display in this World Cup.
Bangladesh U-19 squad: Rakibul Hasan(c), Prantik Nawrose Nabil(vc), Mahfijul Islam, Iftakhar Hossain Ifti, SM Meherob Hasan, Aich Mollah, Abdulla Al Mamun, Gazi Mohammad Tahjibul Islam, Ariful Islam, Md Fahim, Mohammad Musfik Hasan, Ripon Mondol, Md Ashiqur Zaman, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Naimur Rohman Noyon
England U-19 squad: Tom Prest (c), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Aspinwall, Sonny Baker, Nathan Barnwell, George Bell, Jacob Bethell, Josh Boyden, James Coles, Alex Horton, Will Luxton, James Rew, James Sales, Fateh Singh, George Thomas. Traveling Reserves: Josh Baker, Ben Cliff.
What do you think? Which team has the highest chances to win? Let us know your thoughts! Stay tuned with Cricwizz.