Pakistan Under-19 head coach Ijaz Ahmed. Photo: Screen grab
Pakistan Under-19 head coach Ijaz Ahmed has revealed that his players are prepared for the 2020 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup and urged them to showcase their talent at the tournament.
Pakistan are to begin their campaign against Scotland on Sunday. Ahead of the tournament opener, the coach said that his charges are as ready as they can be.
“These players have had a great camp at the NCA and they have been working hard since we have landed in South Africa. Now, the time to deliver has arrived,” Ijaz, a former hard-hitting batsman for the senior team, is quoted as saying by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) website.
Ijaz said that he has set his team the target of topping Group C — not just because of qualification purposes but also to cut down on travel.
“Our priority is to top our group and stay in the city as the team which finishes second would have to travel to Johannesburg,” he said. “We want to stay here, get totally familiarised with the conditions and progress to quarter-finals and beyond in Potchefstroom.”
Ijaz admitted that the team’s bowling unit did struggle initially with conditions in South Africa but is now up to speed.
“We played our first warm-up game a day after we arrived in the country. I feel the bowlers were a bit stiff and wayward in that game. In the second match our bowlers Amir Khan, Tahir Hussain, Aamir Ali and Abbas bowled well, support bowlers Fahad and Qasim Akram also delivered and we won the game,” he said.
Ijaz appeared worried that his batsmen could be a bit rusty due to not being “challenged” enough in the warm-ups.
“Our first game was against Nigeria and it was a straightforward game as we got them out for 109 runs. The batsmen were not challenged much. We also called back opener Haider Ali after he had scored a quickfire 50. It was almost a 10-wicket win for us,” he said.
“Our game against Sri Lanka challenged us. Fahad Munir played really well but we also had to call him back after he reached his 50. Mohammad Haris batted really well, too, besides Haider’s contribution at the top of the innings.”