Sri Lankan junior team to play in India's U-19 Challenger Trophy
What’s the story?
A team comprising of Sri Lanka’s U-19 cricketers will make an entry into India’s U-19 Challenger Trophy, played between three junior Indian teams, as the fourth participating side this year.
“All these boys have played with each other for quite sometime now. The BCCI wants to give more meaning to these contest at the same time playing a foreign team will help prepare India Under-19 team which is scheduled to play U19 World Cup next year in New Zealand,” a source close to the BCCI told The Indian Express.
In case you didn’t know…
The junior Challenger tournament, before the addition of the new fourth team, mimics the three-team structure of the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy, which used to be a List-A tournament organised by the BCCI, featuring the 36 best players from the country. The final edition of the tournament was played in 2013-14.
The heart of the matter
In a bid to give its own junior players some much needed exposure, the Sri Lankan Cricket Board accepted the request from the BCCI, and is said to be sending their team to Mumbai for the tournament.
Each team will play three league games under lights, of which the top two teams will qualify and play the finals.
Teenage sensation Prithvi Shaw, who was not included in India’s U-19 team for the Asia Cup in a bid to let him participate in the Ranji Trophy, will be the captain of Team A, while Himanshu Rana, who is the captain of the Indian colts, will be the skipper of the B team. Abhishek Sharma will be doing the captaincy duties of the third team, C.
The All India Junior Selection Committee will name 13 players in each of the three squads, in a bid to identify players who can form a major chunk of the team that will participate in the U-19 World Cup, scheduled to take place next year.
The inclusion of a Sri Lankan junior side will help shake up things in the Challenger series and bring in some much needed change to a tournament that features the 50-overs format, which itself is struggling to maintain its identity in the days of T20 cricket.
The tournament will help condition the players for the U-19 World Cup, scheduled to be held in New Zealand, and will assist in identify the core of the team that’ll travel in January in a bid to win their fourth U-19 World Cup title.