With the U-19 World Cup barely four months away, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has planned a resumption of U-19 international cricket in November. There has been no U-19 cricket since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020.
According to a report in TOI, the BCCI is working on hosting a tournament in which the board will field two teams and invite reigning U-19 champions Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The U-19 World Cup is scheduled to be played in West Indies in January-February next year.
The BCCI is slated to start the first domestic U-19 one-day tournament with the Vinoo Mankad Trophy in the third week of September, which will be followed by a Challenger Trophy to shortlist the players for the World Cup.
“The board usually arranges multiple U-19 series – both home and overseas – to prepare a crop of U-19 cricketers for the World Cup. The pandemic has hampered the normal process. It’s important for the young boys to have some international experience,” a top BCCI official told TOI.
NCA head Rahul Dravid likes to give players ample opportunities before pruning the list of players. This time, however, there will be just two domestic tournaments. “This is why the board has thought of fielding two teams. Bangladesh are a tough opposition in U-19 cricket. This tournament help will test out the players,” the official added.
The board is yet to announce the names of junior national selectors. The committee is expected to be decided by September first week.
Meanwhile, the state associations are scampering to finalise their U-19 squads. They are all in the trials stage. The teams will have to undergo a seven-day quarantine before the Vinoo Mankad Trophy.