Former champion India was on Monday handed a relatively easy draw in the ICC under-19 Cricket World Cup and will open its campaign against the West Indies on August 12.
India has been clubbed with Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea and the West Indies in Group ‘C', and will play its first match at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville, Queensland.
India has reached the zenith of glory at this tournament twice — Mohammad Kaif put his hands on the glittering trophy in Sri Lanka in 2000 and then Virat Kohli led the team to a well-deserved triumph in Malaysia in 2008.
India will play its second match against Zimbabwe on August 14 at the same venue, two days before taking on Papua New Guinea at Endeavour Park 1.
Defending champion Australia will aim to match Pakistan's achievement when it launches the defence of the title against traditional rival and former champion England on the opening day of the 16-day tournament on August 11.
Together with Australia and England, also in action in Townsville on the opening day will be Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea who will face each other at Endeavour Park 1, while four Asian rivals will go head-to-head in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast with Sri Lanka meeting Bangladesh at the Allan Border Field and Pakistan taking on Afghanistan at the John Blanck Oval.
Australia is the most successful team in the history of the under-19 Cricket World Cup, having won the title thrice — in 1988, 2002 and 2010.
However, Pakistan is the only side which has won back-to-back titles when it won the laurels in 2004 and 2006 in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, respectively.
“In 1988 the event was staged as part of the Australian bi-centenary celebrations and it is now one of our focal tournaments providing the best young cricketers in the world with an opportunity to test their skills,” ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said.
The 16 teams have been divided into four groups with the top two progressing to the Super League quarterfinals while the two bottom teams from each group qualify for the Plate Championship quarterfinals.
The winners of the Super League quarterfinals will qualify for the semifinals whereas the losing quarterfinalists will play in the Super League play-offs.
The winners of the Plate Championship quarterfinals will play in the Plate Championship semifinals while the beaten quarterfinalists will participate in the Plate Championship play-offs.
A total of 48 matches, including 24 in the first round, 12 in the Super League and 12 in the Plate Championship will be played at eight venues — Tony Ireland Stadium, Endeavour Park 1, Endeavour Park 2 (all in Townsville), Allan Border Field, Peter Burge Oval (Redlands DCC), WEP Harris Oval (in Brisbane) John Blanck Oval and Kev Hackney Oval (on the Sunshine Coast).
The Super League final is slated for August 26, two days after the Plate final.
The ICC under-19 Cricket World Cup 2014 will be staged in the United Arab Emirates. — PTI