Townsville (Australia), Aug 11: ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup commenced here on Saturday and will go on till August 26.
U-19 World Cup Schedule
Here is what some of the teams' captains said about the tournament. The captains were quoted in an ICC media release issued on Friday.
India captain Unmukt Chand
India is another side that has done exceptionally well in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cups. Besides winning the 2000 and 2008 events, India reached the final of the 2006 event and also played in the semi-finals in 2002 and 2004.
India will open its campaign in front of ESPN STAR Sports' cameras on Sunday at Tony Ireland Stadium, when it faces the West Indies, which is being led by Test opener Kraigg Brathwaite.
India captain Unmukt Chand said his side was fully prepared for the event. "The team wears a settled look. We have played three tournaments over the past few months - a quadrangular series in India, another in Australia, and then the Asia Cup in Malaysia. We won the first two tournaments, and were joint winners in the third.
"The boys are used to playing with each other, and confidence levels are very high. We also have an excellent support staff. We are looking forward to the World Cup, and hope to emulate our predecessors of 2000 and 2008.
"We are bound to face challenges, with so many quality teams in the fray. However, what might work in our favour is that we have played in Australia, as recently as April 2012. It should not take us long to acclimatise and adjust to the conditions in Australia," he said.
West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite
Though West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite picked Australia as his favourite, he believed his side was equally capable of winning the tournament. "Australia will be the favourite because they won the last World Cup and now they are on their home turf.
"I believe we can win the event. We just need to believe in ourselves, go out there and play as a team and to our full potential. We are motivated and it would be great to win the title for the people of the West Indies,'' Braithwaite said.
"As a team, we will be looking to show the world our talent and that West Indies cricket has a bright future. Every team will be looking to win the event and our approach will be the same. There is a lot to play for," concluded the Test opener.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam
Pakistan starts its tournament against Afghanistan and captain Babar Azam agreed that his side was one of the title contenders but emphasised that his lads will have to quickly adapt to the Australian conditions and perform consistently.
"I think we are one of the tournament favourites as we bat deep, have a couple of good all-rounders and also possess a few quality fast bowlers and spinners in the side.
"Moreover, our recent performance at international level is encouraging so I think our team could be termed as favourite alongside some other teams. However, it will all depend on how quickly we adjust to the conditions in Australia. We all know that pitches and outfields in Australia are very hard and there is extra bounce on the pitches."
South Africa captain Chad Bowes
South Africa plays its opening game against Bangladesh on Sunday 12 August at Allan Border Field, and captain Chad Bowes is confident his side is ready to produce some strong performances.
"This squad has been on a two-year progression plan for this event. We have arrived in Australia to play good, solid cricket and we believe that we have the potential to be the first South Africa side to win an ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.
"You can never take any team for granted especially at a World Cup as no game is an easy," Bowes said.
Bangladesh captain Anamul Haque
"The objective is to settle down quickly. I am putting emphasis on focus as many of our boys haven't toured that much and I have seen that some may actually get overawed by the experience. We are also looking for consistency which is still not there in our performance. We have been making the odd contribution but not doing it as a group on a regular basis.
"I am sure everyone has set personal goals but we all have the common desire of seeing ourselves in the final," Anamul said.