Pakistan can beat India in Under-19 World Cup, says coach Ijaz Ahmed

Ijaz Ahmed was head coach of the Pakistan Emerging side which beat India before eventually winning the Asian Emerging Nations Cup in Bangladesh last year.

Former Pakistan batsman Ejaz Ahmed took over as head coach of the Pakistan Under-19 side last year.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Former Pakistan batsman and current U-19 head coach Ijaz Ahmed feels his side can beat defending champion India in the forthcoming ICC Youth World Cup beginning in South Africa on January 17.

“India has a very good cricket system and it is organized but I know we have more passion than them when we play against each other. That is how we beat them in the semifinals of the recent Asian Emerging Nations Cup,” Ijaz said.

Ijaz, who has played 60 Test and 250 ODIs, was head coach of the Pakistan Emerging side which beat India before eventually winning the title in Bangladesh last year.

“Even in the past, we beat India because of our greater passion and this time also I know the passion of our players will prevail over them although they have a very strong outfit,” he added. Pakistan has won the U-19 World Cup twice in the past.

READ| ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2020: Full schedule, fixtures, teams, groups, date, timings and venues

The 51-year-old Ijaz, however, felt the final result boils down to how a team plays on that particular day. “It is the same in the World Cup; it does not matter which team is number one or defending champion: what will matter is how a team plays on a given day. I personally feel our team is well balanced,” he said.

Ijaz did not believe that India would get the advantage of having played a four-nation tournament with South Africa, New Zealand and Zimbabwe in South Africa before the World Cup.

“Our players have also trained hard in Lahore and we have played around 11 matches. We will also reach South Africa nine days before the World Cup and we have some practice games. I think our preparations are also very good for the tournament,” he said.

READ| Naseem Shah withdrawn from U-19 World Cup on Misbah, Waqar's request: PCB

No controversy

The absence of fast bowler Naseem Shah will not impact the team’s performance, according to the coach. Naseem was withdrawn from the Pakistan U-19 squad after he played for the senior team in three Test matches against Australia and Sri Lanka.

“Look there was no controversy at all. The way we now see things is that you can’t expect an MBA to go and take BA exams. That is how we look at Naseem Shah, he has made the grade for Pakistan and now he should be performing for the senior team,” said the head coach.

“We have a couple of exciting young talent in the ranks. I expect Rohail and Haider to play for the senior team in two to three year’s time, they are that good.”

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