Preview: Group D (ICC Youth World Cup)
CHRIST CHURCH, New Zealand -- The final group in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup is Group D which features Pakistan along with other Full Members Bangladesh and West Indies, plus Associate qualifier Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Andre Coley, the former Jamaica wicketkeeper, is coach of the West Indies under-19 side following his success at that level with the Jamaica three-day and limited-over sides, and he will be looking to captain Andre Creary for inspiration on the field of play.
The West Indies prepared for the event by taking part in the President’s Cup in October 2009, alongside senior territorial teams. Left-handed opening batter Evin Lewis topped the batting averages for his side in that event, being the only player to pass 50, while spinner Akeem Dewar showed promise with the ball, despite the matches being hampered by bad weather.
The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup has a great track record for being a first international sighting of future stars of the West Indies team, with the likes of Jimmy Adams, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan all having featured in previous editions of this event.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has had an opportunity to play as a team on a regular basis in the build-up to the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, with a hectic schedule against some of the world’s leading teams.
This has resulted in a number of notable series victories which illustrates the potential of this team at under-19 level. It beat Sri Lanka 4-1, with a string of impressive performances that included a masterful 129 not out from Amit Majumder. Fast bowler Kamrun Ikmal finished the series as the leading wicket-taker.
Right-handed batsman Majumder has had a particularly successful 2009 with centuries scored against both Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe under-19 sides and he made his debut in first-class cricket in 2008.
The final team in Group D is qualifier PNG, which finished third in the tournament in Canada in September 2009 in order to win a berth at the tournament in New Zealand. The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand will be the fifth one for the PNG side and the team includes six members from its 2006 squad in its 2010 squad that will be based in Napier and Palmerston North.
The side will be coached by former Australia fast bowler Andy Bichel, who has been involved with PNG since 2009 having previously represented Australia in 19 Test matches and 67 ODIs.
The side is being captained by all-rounder John Reva who featured in the 2006 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in Malaysia for PNG and will be hoping his skills from playing club cricket in Melbourne will come in useful.
Another player to keep an eye out for is Charles Amini who comes from a cricketing dynasty that has been part of the PNG landscape for so long that the national cricket ground is named after the Amini family.
Amini’s grandfather, father and two brothers have all played for the PNG men’s side, while his mother, Kune, captained the PNG women’s side in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in 2008.
The 18-year-old Amini is known for his strong spin bowling and will be aided in the bowling attack by opening medium-pace bowler Jonathan Diho. Diho is also known to be a decent tail-end batsman for the island nation.
Assisting Reva with the managing of the PNG side on the field is vice-captain and left arm off-spinner Jason Kila, who also appeared in the PNG side of 2006 and is considered something of an all-rounder by his club side in PNG, Raukele CC.