Sri Lanka to host ICC junior cricket World Cup

Published: Monday, November 28, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo:The International Cricket Council (ICC) has lauched preparations for next year's under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka, less than a year after the island was devastated by tsunami.

ICC president Ehsan Mani said Sri Lanka's willingness to host the event demonstrated the country's resilience in the wake of the December 26 tsunami which killed some 31,000 people in the island and displaced about a million.

"In December 2004, Sri Lanka was devastated by a terrible tragedy, yet 11 months later the country is preparing to welcome 15 overseas teams full of the best young cricketers in the world," Mani said on Monday.

"Sport cannot compensate for such a tragedy, but the fact that this tournament is set to take place in Sri Lanka sends a wonderful and very positive message to the rest of the world."

The sixth edition of the under-19 World Cup will be held from February 5-19 at five venues in capital Colombo.

The 10 Test-playing nations will join Uganda, the United States, Scotland, Namibia, Ireland and Nepal for the two-week tournament.

The 16 teams have been drawn in four groups for the preliminary league.

Mani said that the under-19 World Cup provided the opportunity to spot future stars of the cricket world.

"Brian Lara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Nasser Hussain, Inzamam-ul Haq, Graeme Smith and Michael Clarke are all veterans of this ICC event," he said.

"Smith and Clarke played in the tournament in Sri Lanka five years ago alongwith the Indian duo of Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh.

"In 2004, in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka was captained by Farveez Maharoof, a player who made his Test debut just two months later," Mani said.

Preliminary groups:

Group A: Pakistan, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Uganda

Group B: West Indies, South Africa, Australia, USA

Group C: India, Sri Lanka, Scotland, Namibia

Group D: England, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Nepal

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