The Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) is planning to finally resume the Under-19 international cricket in November after the U-19 took a hiatus from cricket matches since March 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world.
The cricket governing body is considering sending two Under-19 teams for a home series against Sri Lanka and reigning champions Bangladesh ahead of the upcoming U-19 World Cup in the West Indies, which is roughly four months away. Due to a prolonged absence from the game at the youth level and lack of preparation as a result of it, the board is considering providing the players plenty of opportunities for preparation.
BCCI is going to resume U-19 domestic cricket with the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, which is slated to start by the third week of September 2021. The domestic tournament will then be followed by the Challenger Series. The series will serve as a platform for the selection of players for the tournament in the Caribbean next year.
The BCCI is emphasizing implementing an invitational tournament featuring two U-19 teams from India as there can only be two domestic tournaments before the World Cup in January-February next year.
“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.
This time, however, there will be just two domestic tournaments. “This is why the board has thought of fielding two teams. Bangladesh is a tough opposition in U-19 cricket. This tournament help will test out the players,” the official added.
The pandemic has posed numerous challenges for the U-19 games as the states are finding it difficult to shortlist their respective squads for the upcoming Vinoo Mankad trophy as all the teams have to undergo a mandatory seven-day quarantine before heading into the tournament.
The board is expected to announce the junior national selector’s committee by September first week.
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