Former Pakistan Youth captain, Azeem Ghumman, believes that given their recent form, Pakistan Under-19 team looks to be the favourite to lift the title in the upcoming ICC Under-19 World Cup in Australia.
The 21-year-old said that Pakistan juniors will be heavily relying on their batting line up, which has been in impressive touch after recording important victories against other major teams. Ghumman was the captain of the national Under-19 squad in the last edition of the youth mega-event and led his side into the final, where Pakistan fell short by only 25 runs and were beaten by the Australians, led by Mitchell Marsh. Pakistan Under-19 team is already playing a 3-match One Day International (ODI) series against their Australian opponents as part of their preparation for the World Cup. The Green Shirts have already given sterling performances by winning the first two matches with the final ODI to be played on Aug 3.
“Batting seems to be the team's strength and all of top seven are scoring runs. In 2010, when we played the U-19 tournament in New Zealand, our strength was the middle order and all-rounders," said Ghumman.
The right hand batsman said that conditions in Australia will be tough however, recent victories suggest that the Men in Green have adapted extremely well.
Impressed with the talent in the national youth squad, the Hyderabad-born player, who now plays for the Hawks feels satisfied with the team selection.
"They recently defeated South Africa and tied with India utilising a similar squad. Young talent is being showcased and amongst the players selected, I particularly look forward to seeing Babar Azam, Usman Qadir, Sami Aslam and Zia-ul-Haq perform,” said Ghumman.
Pakistan was joint-winners with India in the recently concluded Under-19 Asia Cup final. The Green Shirts also defeated the Men in Blue in the round matches of the tournament.
Pakistan has twice won the Under-19 World Cup and is the only team to have successfully defended their title in 2006. The Asian Giants will play their World Cup opener against the minnows Afghanistan on Aug 11 at Buderim.