World junior cricket festival returns to Bangladesh
This is where South Africa will begin the defence of their title when the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 World Cup gets under way in Bangladesh on Wednesday.
The reigning champions will face the hosts in the opening match at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong.
England meet Fiji at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong on the same day.
The 19-day event, comprising 48 matches, will be played across eight venues in four cities until February 14.
This is the second time Bangladesh, famous for its Tigers, will be hosting the global junior cricket event, having first done so in 2004.
The 16-team tournament is the biggest platform for cricket’s rising stars and the competition opened the way for the likes of South Africa’s bowler Kagiso Rabada (20) in 2014 and did the same for batsman Mushfiqur Rahim (27) in 2006, who is in the current Bangladesh senior squad.
Bangladesh, along with South Africa, are pitted against Scotland and Namibia in Group A.
Group B is made up of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Canada.
England finds itself in Group C with the West Indies, Zimbabwe and Fiji, while Group D is decorated with India, New Zealand, Nepal and Ireland.
Cricket powerhouse Australia is a notable omission from this year’s line-up.
The Aussies were supposed to be in Group D, but Cricket Australia withdrew its team from the event, citing concerns about safety and security.
They were replaced by Ireland in the tournament. South Africa won the World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2014 by defeating twotime former champions Pakistan in the final.
In Bangladesh, all matches will be day fixtures starting at 5am SA time, with the final taking place at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka.
Bangladesh Cricket Board chief Nazmul Hassan said: “Bangladesh has a proud history of hosting ICC events. I am confident this tournament will also be successful.” Alam is a reporter for Prothom Alo, a Bengali-language newspaper in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is based in SA courtesy of the
Committee to Protect Journalists