The U19 CWC will take place in four Bangladesh cities from February 27 to March 14 and will feature nine Test-playing nations and seven Associate and Affiliate members – Afghanistan, Canada, Fiji, Ireland, Namibia, Nepal and Scotland.
Azhar, a frontline batsman who played in the U19 CWC 2002, said it was an important tournament for any ambitious youngster, says an ICC press release issued here.
“This tournament affords an opportunity to throw the young ones in the deep end and assess their future potential,” Azhar said.
He said U19 CWC gives young players to showcase their talent and make their mark. “Those who perform are noticed by their respective selectors, which is why so many of us who first featured in the U19 CWC have gone on to become senior pros, he said”.
He said the U19 CWC give youngsters the feel of international cricket. “It makes one realize the importance of representing their nation, he said”.
With the U19 CWC around the corner, like Azhar other cricket stars including England Test captain Alastair Cook, New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum and Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien also recall how their participation in this tournament has helped them develop as cricketers.
Cook, who played in the 2004 edition in Bangladesh, said representing your country at a WC is a huge honor and a special occasion for players, coaches and families. “The World Cup is a great opportunity for players to test themselves against the best in the world, he said”.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who played in the 1998 tournament in South Africa, said he looks back at the tournament as a step up from anything he had played in beforehand. “The senior team will be closely following the performance of the young New Zealand cricketers in Bangladesh,” he said.
Kevin O’Brien of Ireland, who played against Cook in the 2004 event in Bangladesh, hoped the current cricketers will make the most of the opportunity of taking part in an ICC event. “It was a tremendous tournament to play in and we still talk about it in the Irish dressing room,” he said.