LAHORE - The Pakistan Cricket Board Wednesday announced their U19 side will tour South Africa for seven 50-over matches as part of their ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 preparations. The event will be staged in South Africa from January 17 to February 9, 2020.

The U19 series against South Africa U19 will be played in Pietermaritzburg, capital of KwaZulu-Natal, and Durban, the province’s largest city, from June 19 to July7. This will be the U19’s second important tour this year and is aligned to the PCB’s strategy of reviving and investing on pathway cricket.

Apart from the U19 tours, an U16 side was in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year for a series against Australia, while they will be embarking on a tour to Bangladesh on Thursday.

PCB Director – International Cricket, Zakir Khan, said: “This tour will be one of the cornerstones of our preparations for next year’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, which will also be held in South Africa. I have no doubts that the next generation of cricketers will benefit immensely from the seven 50-over matches from experience and exposure perspectives.

“Apart from gaining cricketing knowledge, the Pakistani lads will also get the opportunity to build relationships with their South African counterparts as well as learning and understanding local culture, which are very crucial in terms of players’ development when we look into the future.

 “The South Africa tour is part of the PCB’s commitment to continue to invest on future stars of Pakistan cricket and give them as many opportunities as possible so that they are ready to graduate to the higher level and make a name for themselves and Pakistan. “Cricket South Africa and the PCB have formed a very strong bonding over the past many years, which have resulted in exchange of regular tours and series. Earlier this season, our national team played a competitive series in South Africa, while next month, our women’s side will tour South Africa next month for ICC Women’s Championship ODIs as well as T20I fixtures, which have been scheduled as part of their preparations for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Australia 2020.”

The squad and the team management for the South Africa tour will be announced in due course, but players born on or after 1 September 2000 will be eligible for selection.

Sri Lanka tour in doubt

after terrorist attack

Meanwhile, Pakistan U19 team’s tour to Sri Lanka is surrounded by uncertainty following a series of attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, that killed around 400 people and injuring many.

Rohail led squad is originally scheduled to leave for Sri Lanka on 30th April, however it is now unlikely that team will depart according to the original schedule. Sources within the U19 team believe that the tour has been tentatively pushed for a week and coaching staff has been told by PCB to prepare training programmess for another 7 days.

However, PCB will make a final call after getting a word from Sri Lanka Cricket. “SLC has told PCB that it will get back once discussing the issue with the government and relevant security agencies,” said a source. “It seems unlikely that tour will proceed as schedule, but there is nothing official from both the boards. PCB is not putting any pressure on Sri Lanka as it understands the position,” the source added.

Meanwhile, Saim Ayub, the player of U19 team said that he was looking forward to play in Sri Lanka. “As a cricketer I was looking forward to the tour. It is hard time for them and we must stand with them,” said Saim who was also a part of PSL team Quetta Gladiators but didn’t get opportunity to show his skills. “We are well prepared and hopeful for winning the series,” he said.