Dubai: Eighteen players, including three form India, are set to take part in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup for the second time when the event begins in Bangladesh on January 27.
To represent one's country at a world-level tournament is any budding teenage cricketer's dream, but to take part in two editions before turning 19 is a remarkable accomplishment reserved for a select band who display talent beyond their years.
Host country Bangladesh's Mehidy Hassan Miraz will have the rare distinction of captaining his nation in two editions.
Mehidy, who celebrated his 18th birthday in October last year, had not turned 16 when he led Bangladesh in the UAE in 2014.
Besides Mehidy, the hosts have four other players with previous experience of having taken part in the sport's premier age-group tournament. They are Najmul Hossain, Joyraj Sheik, Zakir Hasan and Saeed Sarker.
Defending champions South Africa, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe will take the field with a fresh set of cricketers, but most of the other teams have players with previous experience in the tournament.
Three-time former champions India has in its ranks Sarfaraz Khan, Ricky Bhui and Avesh Khan, who helped their team finish fifth in the UAE.
Sarfaraz, one of India's brightest young batsmen who turns out for Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, insisted he had an unfinished business at hand in Bangladesh.
"Our hopes of defending the title in 2014 were dashed when we lost to England in the quarter-finals. That really hurts and we are determined to go all the way this time," the stocky batsman said.
"It helps to have played at the senior level in domestic cricket but I can't be complacent about that. We will be competing against the world's best junior players in Bangladesh. I just want to do well and help my team win," he was quoted as saying in an ICC statement.
Afghanistan has retained four members of the squad that finished seventh in 2014. They are Ihsanullah Janat, who is now the captain, Muslim Musa, Waheed Shafaq and Zia-ur-Rehman Akbar.
Abraash Khan of Canada, Shimron Hetmyer of the West Indies and New Zealand's Josh Finnie will return as captains of their respective teams hoping to better the 2014 performances where the West Indies finished sixth, New Zealand 10th and Canada 15th.
Namibia's squad includes two members of their 2014 squad that finished 14th with Zane Green taking over as captain and SJ loftie-Eaton a key member of the side.
Ryan Brown is the only Scotland player making his second appearance in the tournament. He played just one match in 2014 where he took two wickets for 18 runs. Nepal and Ireland did not qualify in 2014, while Fiji is the only newcomer to the event.
The 11th edition of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup will be played across four cities in Bangladesh from January 27 to February 14, featuring nine Test-playing nations and seven the Associate and Affiliate members -- Afghanistan, Canada, Fiji, Ireland, Namibia, Nepal and Scotland.
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