Canada’s Under-19 cricketers begin their World Cup campaign today.
The squad spent a week in Sri Lanka preparing for the 11th edition of the International Cricket Council (ICC) youth tournament that starts with the national side meeting 2000 losing finalist Sri Lanka in its first group match. They clash with two-time champions Pakistan on January 30 and Afghanistan two days later.
Cricket Canada’s general manager Ingleton Liburd acknowledges Canada is in a tough group.
“All we can ask for us is a good showing against the Sir Lankans and Pakistanis, but I expect us to beat Afghanistan,” said Liburd who will be in Bangladesh for the tournament.
Pakistani-born all-rounder Abraash Khan is leading the 15-member squad. The St. Marcellinius Secondary Student is the only returning player from the last Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates two years ago and one of 11 Ontario players in the squad.
The other provincial representatives are Akash Gill, Amish Taploo, Arslan Khan, Bhuvindu Adhihetty, Harsh Thaker, Kurt Ramdath, Mamik Luthra, Prushoth Wijayaraj, Schlok Patel and Thursaanth Anantharajah.
Edmonton off-spinner Miraj Patel, British Columbia medium-pacer Suliman Khan and Manitoba medium-pacer Abdul Haseeb and right-handed middle order batsman Sarbjot Sivia complete the line-up.
The top two sides from each of the four groups will qualify for the Super League quarter-finals while the third and fourth place teams in the groups will play in a Plate Championship quarter-final.
Finishing second to last in the 2014 tournament, Canada has just three wins in 26 matches – there are two no results along with a tie – in its previous four World Cup outings.
By RON FANFAIR