ICC U-19 World Cup: Summary, teams and format
With its reach being close to 1.3 billion viewers, ICC U-19 World Cup is set to be the most widely watched edition in the tournament history. The interest, especially for the Indian audiences, has piqued with expectations from a young squad under the mentorship of former great Rahul Dravid. Let's have a look at what lies on India's road to U-19 World Cup title.
U-19 World Cup and India
The ICC Under-19 World Cup 2018 is the 12th edition of the tournament which began in 1988. While the second edition was held much later in 1998, it has ever since been played every two years with the last edition taking place in Bangladesh in 2016. India have won it thrice (2000, 2008, 2012), making them the joint-most successful team alongside Australia.
Stepping stone to a place in senior side
U-19 World is a breeding ground of talent waiting for a chance to debut for Indian senior national team. Many players like Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Virat Kohli, have been part of India's U-19 World Cup squads.
2018 tournament format
In the 2018 tournament, 16 teams will compete across 21 days (13th January to 3rd February) for the glory. The teams are divided into four groups of four each. Each team would play every other team in their group once, in a round-robin format. The top two teams from each group move to the Super League stage to play quarterfinals, semis, and the final.
Players to look out for
Apart from India's teen sensation Prithvi Shaw; other players, who will garner attention, include the likes of Jason Sangha of Australia, Kirstan Kallicharan of West Indies, New Zealand's Rachin Ravindra, Sri Lanka's ambidextrous skipper Kamindu Mendis, England's Will Jacks, and Mujeeb Zadran of Afghanistan.
Teams and pools
Group A- Kenya, New Zealand (hosts), South Africa, West Indies; Group B- Australia, India, Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe; Group C- Bangladesh, Canada, England, Namibia; Group D- Afghanistan, Ireland, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. Prithvi Shaw-led India would face a tough competition in a pool which includes Australia, a side captained by the Indian origin cricketer Jason Jaskirat Singh Sangha.
India's group stage fixtures
India will play their opening group stage fixture against Australia on 14th January, followed by a match against Papua New Guinea on 16th January, and Zimbabwe on 19th January. All of them will be played at the Bay Oval, Maunganui.