In the 2010 ICC U19 World Cup tournament, which will take place in New Zealand from 15 to 30 January, USA has been placed in Group B alongside Ireland, South Africa and Australia.
Team USA must try to uproot the big guns - South Africa and Australia - in the tournament to get into the quarter-finals. Only the top two teams in each group will qualify for the quarter-finals and those that do not qualify will play in the Plate Competition.
Even though the 2010 grouping looks formidable at first glance, it is a better one than what USA was faced with in 2006, the last time USA played at this level, when it was in a group that included South Africa, Australia and West Indies! In 2006, USA lost all three preliminary round matches but did well to reach the semi-finals in the Plate Championship.
Warm-up Fixtures: USA U19 will play India U19 in a warm-up fixture at Redwood Park on January 11, 2010. This encounter is sure to create a lot of buzz given that India is the top-seed in the tournament. Following this, on January 12, USA will play Papua New Guinea.
Tournament Fixtures: The campaign for USA U19 boys will begin at noon on January 16 against Australia U19. USA's second match is against South Africa on Monday, January 18th. On Tuesday, they play Ireland at the same venue. All of USA's matches are scheduled to be held at Queenstown.
ESPN Star Sports is expected to broadcast 10 of the matches live. The tournament opener between defending champion India and qualifier Afghanistan is expected to draw a lot of attention.
The groups are as follows:
As DreamCricket.com readers are aware, in addition to the 10 Full Members, six Associate and Affiliate teams that qualified through the the ICC World Cup Qualifier (including USA) will also take part in the event .
Group A: India, England, Afghanistan, Hong Kong
Group B: South Africa, Australia, Ireland, USA
Group C: New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada
Group D: Pakistan, Bangladesh, West Indies, Papua New Guinea
From the 2008 event in Malaysia several players have already made the breakthrough to senior international cricket including Wayne Parnell of South Africa, Philip Hughes of Australia, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja of India and New Zealand's Tim Southee among others.
However, a quick look at the players from the 2006 USA U19 Squad tells a different story, with only one player, Ravi Timbawala from the squad making it to the initial list of probables for the senior USA team this year.
The team for the U19 World Cup has not yet been finalized but here is a look at the First All America XI team which is expected to contribute most of the players: Shiva Vashishat (Captain), Gregory Sewdial (Vice Captain), Salman Ahmad, Regis Burton, Ryan Corns, Muhammad Asad Ghous, Naseer Jamali, Abhijit Joshi, Azurdeen Mohammed, Saqib Saleem, Saami Siddiqui, Steven Taylor, Henery Wardley and Talha Zamir. In addition, the following players are reserves - Hammad Shahid, Yash Shah, Andrew Ajodhi, Kavishwar Bridgepaul, Lekiram Latchman, Vinay Suri and Karthik Vittala.