Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Under-19 cricket team will get their World Cup campaign underway against Papua New Guinea at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago.
Prosper Utseya’s men, who rounded off their preparations with a 155 runs defeat to defending champions Bangladesh on Tuesday, will plunge into battle a day earlier than the original schedule following the revision of the fixtures by the ICC.
The Zimbabwe players, most of whom are new to the stage, are excited with the prospects of taking part in the tournament.
Vice-captain Brian Bennett said he was looking forward to the tournament.
“I am obviously very happy for myself. It has been a long hard two years of practicing for this World Cup and it’s an honour to be with the 15 men here and I hope we will have a good tournament,” said Bennett.
The Zimbabwe youth team will be looking to improve from their performances at the last edition when they finished 11th. They had a three-week training camp in the West Indies where they played six practice games and won four.
They kicked off their training camp with a 3-1 series win over Ireland before edging Canada by two runs in the first official [practice match earlier this week.
But they were given a reality check in their last warm up game against defending champions Bangladesh during the week. Zimbabwe were reminded time and again during the preparatory games that they needed to sort out their top order batting.
Their bowling unit is their strength and they have shown promise with Victor Chirwa, Mgcini Dube, Alex Falao, Tendekai Mataranyika and all-rounder Connor Mitchell.
“As a team I think we have a good squad and I think we gelled well. The greatest asset that we have had is that we came together (during the training camp) and we are going into the World Cup as a unit,” said bowler Dube.
Zimbabwe were originally billed to kick off their campaign tomorrow against Afghanistan in Group C, which also has two-time champions, Pakistan. But the Asians delayed their arrival into the Caribbean after facing visa glitches. Due to quarantine requirements, it also meant that they would not be able to prepare for the game.
The revised fixture will see Zimbabwe engage Pakistan in the second game on Monday before completing the round robin games on January 22.
Zimbabwe U’19 squad:
Emmanuel Bawa (captain), Brian Bennett (vice-captain), David Bennett, Victor Chirwa, Mgcini Dube, Alex Falao, Tendekai Mataranyika, Tashinga Makoni, Connor Mitchell, Steven Saul, Matthew Schonken, Panashe Taruvinga, Matthew Welch, Rogan Wolhuter, Ngenyasha Zvinoera