By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Cricket selectors are expected to finalise the national Under-19 squad this weekend ahead of the country’s participation at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup to be hosted by South Africa next month.
The youth team, which is coached by former Zimbabwe international Prosper Utseya, open their campaign at the global tournament with a clash against Bangladesh in Potchefstroom on 18 January before taking on Pakistan and Scotland on January 22 and 25 respectively.
The top two teams from each of the four groups at the tournament will advance to the Super League, while the remaining teams will feature in the Plate championship.
Utseya, whose side has intensified preparations by playing practice matches against domestic franchise teams, expressed his desire to reach the Super League stage of the global tourney.
“Progressing to the super league stage like any team participating in the World Cup is a given, something we intend to do provided we play to our potential and take each game as comes after that,” said Utseya.
“We are mainly focusing on things we can control that’s our game, not so much on who is in our group. Should we play to our potential, we can achieve greater world class heights,” he said.
According to Utseya, the national selectors will name the final squad for the Under-19 Cricket World Cup on Saturday.
Zimbabwe has been busy finalising preparations for the youth global showcase with the technical team headed by Utseya emphasising on the need for his charges to improve their fitness and conditioning levels ahead of the tournament.
In August, the youngsters went on a tour of South Africa where they played four 50-over matches against South African academy and provincial youth sides in a tour they were using to familiarise themselves with conditions in the hosting nation.
Heading into the tournament, Zimbabwe will bank on the experience of the likes of Wesley Madhevere, Nkosinathi Nungu, Dion Myers, Dane Schadendorf and Milton Shumba, who have represented the country at Under-19 level over the years.
ICC Under-19 World Cup Groups:
Group A: India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Japan
Group B: Australia, England, West Indies, Nigeria
Group C: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Scotland
Group D: Afghanistan, South Africa, UAE, Canada