Pakistan's U-19 head coach Ejaz Ahmed claims that his side can beat defending champions and arch-rivals India in the upcoming ICC U-19 World Cup beginning in South Africa on January 17.
“India has a very good cricket system and it is organized but I know that we have more passion than them when we play against each other and that is how we also beat them in the semi-finals of the recent Asian Emerging Nations Cup,” Ejaz said.
Ejaz is a former Pakistan batsman who has played 60 Test and 250 ODIs. He has also coached the Pakistan Emerging side which beat India and later went on to win 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”
Pakistan-U19 have won two U-19 World Cups in total.
Ejaz added that at the end if will all come down to how each 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 champions what will matter is how a team plays on a given day. I personally feel our team is well balanced,” he said.
Ejaz does not believe that India will have an advantage of having played a four-nation tournament with South Africa, New Zealand and Zimbabwe in South Africa just 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 and I think our preparations are also very good for the tournament,” he said.
According to the coach, the absence of fast bowler Naseem Shah will not impact the team’s performance in the tournament. Naseem was withdrawn from the Pakistan U-19 squad after he played for the senior team in three Test matches against Australia and Sri Lanka.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,” he added.