Under-19 cricket team to train in Lahore and play eight practice matches against various teams.
Afghanistan’s Under-19 cricket side arrives in Pakistan this weekend to train with the hosts’ elite academy coaches in preparation for next month’s World Cup.
The Afghans will train at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore for three weeks as they tune up for the ICC Under-19 tournament in the U.A.E., which starts on Feb. 14. They will also play eight practice matches against various teams, including three against Pakistan Under-19 at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Friday.
Afghanistan face Australia, Bangladesh and Namibia in the group stage of the tournament and will be hoping for a better show than in 2012 when they won only one match and failed to qualify for the knockout stages. The Afghan youngsters caused an upset at the Asian Cricket Council Under-19 Asia Cup last month, beating Sri Lanka before going down to Pakistan in the semi-final.
Pakistan has played a pivotal role in Afghanistan’s fairytale rise in international cricket, having helped them with coaches, training facilities and allowing them to play in their domestic cricket in the past. Refugees who learned the game while living in camps in Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of the 1980s popularized it in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan have earned a maiden qualification for the 2015 World Cup (50 overs) to be held in Australia and New Zealand. They will also feature in the 2014 World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March-April, their third appearance since earning their first berth in the 2010 event held in the West Indies.