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Pakistan to take on India in Blind Cricket World Cup today

Pakistan to take on India in Blind Cricket World Cup today

Considered as the stepping stone for the senior national team, the U-19 World Cup does offer a good opportunity for the youngsters to showcase their talent on the big stage.

It's the cricket nursery that delivered Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Tim Southeee, Steve Smith and Virat Kohli to the worldwide stage. BRENDON EGAN looks at five players to watch at the 2018 version, starting on Saturday.

Australia: Jason Sangha (C), Will Sutherland, Xavier Bartlett, Max Bryant, Jack Edwards, Zak Evans, Jarrod Freeman, Ryan Hadley, Baxter Holt, Nathan McSweeney, Jonathan Merlo, Lloyd Pope, Jason Ralston, Param Uppal, Austin Waugh. He has yet to play for New South Wales, but performed strongly for NSW Metro as they won the under-19 one-day title in December. He is one of the few players who have already played first-class cricket.

While that ton, which came against a bowling line-up that consisted of the likes of Moeen Ali and Mason Crane, made him the youngest Australian to hit a ton against England, it also made him the second-youngest since the legendary Sachin Tendulkar who had hit one aged 17 years and 107 days.

Ireland captain Harry Tector: "The guys are obviously delighted to be going to the U19 World Cup".

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Captain and top order batsman Brook could be just the man to bring some positivity back to English cricket following the embarrassment in The Ashes. The right-hander is highly rated having made his first-class debut for Yorkshire in 2016 against Pakistan A, while still at high school. Brook showed his class with a century in a warm-up match against Ireland this week and also hit 91 and 63 not out against the South Africa under-19s in December. We have managed to build a bit of experience over the previous year, that seven of our players have played first-class cricket stands us in good stead.

This will be the 12th edition of the tournament and the third on New Zealand soil. This Afghanistan batsman averages 121.77 so far from seven matches and among players to have more than 1000 first-class runs, he sits on top of the pile when it comes to averages. I tell a lot of these boys that I think it's a terrific opportunity for them to be a part of this tournament.

Group A: New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies, Kenya. They will next face Papua New Guinea on January 16 and Zimbabwe on January 19.

Australia v India, Jan 14 at Mt Maunganui.

Quality Teams: There is no favourite to pick between India and Australia given that both teams boost with some of the best age-group cricketers around the world. Thus, he will form the fulcrum of the Indian batting line-up in this World Cup.