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    Afghan U-19 World Cup squad named

    KABUL (PAN): A 15-member squad, led by Javed Ahmadi, has been announced for the Under-19 World Cup to be played in Australia in August, an official said on Tuesday.

    Shabir Noori would be Ahmadi’s deputy, with Sher Agha Hamkar named as team manager, Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB)’s spokesman Nusratullah Wafa told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    The squad is: Javed Ahmadi (captain), Shabir Noori (vice captain), Nasir Jamal Ahmadzai, Afsar Zazi, Najeeb Zadran, Syed Ahmad Sherzad, Mohibullah Pak, Aftab Alam, Noorul Haq Malakzai, Yamen Ahmadzai, Farid Malak, Younas Khan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Abdul Rahim Mangal and Rashid Khan Nasiri.

    The team is being assisted by Geoff Lawson as consultant and Haji Wali Amin as coach, Wafa said. Lawson will work with the team following its arrival in Australia, almost three weeks ahead of the event that features 12 nations -- divided into four groups.

    Afghanistan is placed in group B with Pakistan, New Zealand and Scotland. Hosts Australia, England, Nepal and Ireland are in group A. The West Indies, Zimbabwe, India and Papua New Guinea are placed in group C. Group D includes Sri Lanka, South Africa, Bangladesh and Namibia.

    In their opener, Afghanistan will face Pakistan on August 11 before taking on the Kiwis three days later. In the third encounter, they are scheduled to meet Scotland on August 15. Ahead of their matches, Afghanistan will play warm-ups against Ireland on August 7 and India the next day.

    ACB Chief Executive Dr. Hamid Shinwari said the squad had been picked after a thorough assessment of players’ overall performance during six months of trials. He added the youngsters’ morale had been high since they defeated Bangladesh in the Asia Cup a few days ago.

    He said the squad would leave for Australia three weeks ahead of the event to play friendlies and become familiar with the Australian grounds and environment.

    Farid Malik, who has been able to find his way to the team for the first time, called his inclusion the most important occasion in his life. “I have reached this stage after struggling for the last four years,” he said, pledging to do all he could to help the side bring home laurels.

    ma/mud



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