LAHORE: The national junior selection committee here on Friday named an experienced 15-player Pakistan squad for the 2020 ICC U-19 World Cup, which will be held in South Africa from Jan 17 to Feb 9.

In-form wicket-keeper-batsman Rohail Nazir has been retained as captain while prolific opener Haider Ali has been named as vice-captain.

Pakistan, the 2004 and 2006 champions and three-time runners-up, are placed in Group C of the 16-team event and will play Scotland in their opening match on Jan 19 in Potchefstroom.

Pakistan’s second match will be against Zimbabwe at the Witrand Oval in Bloemfontein on Jan 22 while their third and final group match will be on Jan 24 at the J.P. Marks Oval against Bangladesh.

The top two teams from each of the four groups will advance to the Super League while the remaining teams will feature in the Plate Championship. The Super League stage will commence from Jan 28 and the top four sides will qualify for the semi-finals with the winners competing for the title on Feb 9 in Benoni.

Saleem Jaffar, chairman of the junior selection committee, said: “I want to congratulate all the players on their selection in the Pakistan squad for the ICC U-19 World Cup 2020. I know some of the players will be disappointed at not being picked, but it was a tough task as we had a pool of some very exciting and exceptionally talented players to choose from.

“I would encourage all the players who have missed out on selection to remain positive and motivated as I am confident there will be opportunities for them down the road.

“The criteria for selection was current performances and meritocracy, and I am pleased it was a consensus decision. These players have been performing up to our expectations and I am hopeful they will carry their good form into the series and produce solid performances. Barring Aamir Khan, Arish Ali Khan and Mohammad Huraira, all others have represented Pakistan in international junior series this year. However, the three boys made our task easier by consistently producing impressive performances in the domestic season.

Three players — Ammad Butt Jr, Akhtar Shah and Saim Ayub — were not considered for selection due to injuries.”

The Pakistan cricket team can make changes to their combination until Jan 10, 2020 without needing an ICC approval. After Jan 11, players can be replaced on fitness grounds and will require the approval of the ICC’s Event Technical Committee.

Squad (players born on or after 1 Sept 2000 were eligible for selection): Openers — Abdul Wahid Bangalzai (Quetta), Haider Ali (Rawalpindi), Mohammad Shehzad (Multan); Middle-order batsmen Mohammad Haris (Peshawar), Mohammad Huraira (Sialkot) and Mohammad Irfan Khan (Lahore); Wicketkeeper — Rohail Nazir (captain); All-rounders — Abbas Afridi (Peshawar), Fahad Munir (Lahore) and Qasim Akram (Faisalabad); Spinners — Amir Ali (Larkana) and Arish Ali Khan (Karachi); Fast bowlers — Amir Khan (Peshawar), Naseem Shah (Lahore) and Tahir Hussain (Multan);

Team management: Ijaz Ahmed (head coach-cum-manager), Rao Iftikhar Anjum (bowling coach), Abdul Majeed (assistant coach), Saboor Ahmad (trainer), Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rasul (physiotherapist), Usman Hashmi (analyst), Emmad Ahmed Hameed (media manager), Col (retd) Usman Riffat Ansari (security manager).

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2019