India to play Pakistan in Emerging Cup in Bangladesh
India won the tournament back in 2013 by defeating Pakistan in the final.
What’s the story?
Before India and Pakistan face off in the much awaited ICC Champions Trophy in England on June 4 in Birmingham, the two sides will face off in the ACC Emerging Cup which will be held in Bangladesh between March 15-26.
“Yes, India would be sending a team to the tournament. It’s an ACC tournament and so we would go there. This is not a bilateral India-Pakistan series, and so this is different,” MV Sridhar told The Indian Express.
In case you didn’t know...
The Emerging Cup is a tournament which took place in 2013 as well and is restricted to players under the age of 23. However, the tournament organisers have tweaked the rules a bit as they are allowing each team to send in four national players above the age of 23.
The format of the tournament is such that each team faces off against each other, after which the knockout rounds would commence. Eight teams took part in the 2013 edition and were divided into two groups of four each.
The heart of the matter
India’s U-19 side have been doing extremely well over the past year or so, and we could see a few players from the U-19 side take part in the tournament. However, with India taking on Australia in a four-match Test series during the same time, we might not see too many national players above the age of 23 taking part in the tournament.
Apart from taking on Pakistan, India will also face stiff competition from Bangladesh, who are playing on home surface, and Afghanistan, who have turned over a new leaf over the past few years.
Parallels from history
Last time around in 2013, the tournament was held in Singapore and India emerged the winners in a one-sided final against Pakistan. Chasing a low total of 160 in the final, India chased it down with relative ease with KL Rahul leading from the front with an extremely well-constructed knock of 93 in 107 deliveries.
Unmukt Chand, the World Cup winning captain of the Indian U-19 side in 2012 was a part of the squad as well. The Pakistan cricket team included the likes of Babar Azam, who is one of Pakistan’s best batsmen today and Mohammad Rizwan.
This tournament would be the perfect opportunity for upcoming youngsters to showcase their talent on the big stage and send a message to the selectors by making a mark for themselves.
There are a lot of youngsters such as Rishabh Pant, Priyank Panchal, and Sarfraz Khan who have proved themselves in the domestic circuit, and this tournament could prove to be a turning point in their lives if they are given an opportunity to play in it.
Extra Cover: Rishabh Pant joins Adidas Cricket