LAHORE   -   Wicketkeeper-batsman Rohail Nazir of Islamabad has been retained as Pakistan U19 captain for the upcoming tour of South Africa, which will comprise seven 50-over matches from June 22 to July 7.

Rohail had not only successfully led Pakistan U19 to a 3-2 series win over Sri Lanka last week, but was also the most valuable player from either side with 320 runs in five matches which earned him the player of the series award.

Reacting to the news, Rohail said: “I am honoured that the selectors have continued to trust in my abilities and I will try my best to justify the confidence they have entrusted on me. The South Africa tour will be another challenging tour, but it is good for our development, growth and preparations that we play as many tough opponents as possible.

 “With the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 to be held in South Africa, I don’t think the tour could have been better planned as it will help us earn some local knowledge, further improve our skills and upon return work on our weaknesses so that we are better prepared for the World Cup.”

The side was finalised by Director – Academies, Mudassar Nazar, Senior General Manager – Academies, Ali Zia, and Pakistan U19 coach Azam Khan, and includes five changes to the side that played five 50-over matches in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. Khayyam Khan, Mohammad Junaid, Mohammad Taha, Niaz Khan and Suleman Shafqat have paved the way for Amir Ali, Fahad Munir, Irfan Niazi, Mohammad Amir and Naseem Shah who were in the reserve players list for the Sri Lanka tour.

In Sri Lanka, Khayyam scored 23 runs in two matches, Junaid scored 63 runs and took seven wickets in five matches with his off-spinners, Taha aggregated 70 runs in five matches, Niaz scored 12 runs and took one wicket in three matches, and Suleman scored one run and failed to take a wicket in two appearances.

The side includes Haider Ali and Qasim Akram, who scored 214 and 124 runs, respectively in Sri Lanka as well as fast bowlers Mohammad Wasim and Akhtar Shah, who took seven and six wickets, respectively.

Pakistan coach Azam Khan said: “The changes have been made considering the different conditions we are likely to face in South Africa. Apart from gaining experience and exposure, we want to produce strong performances and win as many matches as possible, which will give the players significant confidence going into the upcoming season in which we will also feature in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020.”