Walloped by India Under-19 in the two unofficial Test matches, the visiting South Africa Under-19 cricket team will hope for redemption with a better performance in the quadrangular one-day series which begins here on Tuesday.
The four-day matches were one-sided with the South African batsmen blown away by both pace and spin.
Though there was the odd innings of defiance, it was the Indian bowlers who ruled the roost.
The biggest challenge for the visitors was getting used to the conditions and they will look for a fresh start when taking on India Under-19 A in the opening match at the Sports Hub, Kariyavattom.
India U19-A led by Nehal Wadhera has Yashavi Jaiswal, who is the only player retained from the warm-up matches squad for the quadrangular series.
Effectively, it will be a first taste of international competition for almost all players in the India U19-A and B squads. India U19-B is skippered by wicketkeeper-batsman Rahul Chandrol.
Afghanistan U19 was roped in at the last moment after original invitee Oman had visa issues to its players of Pakistani origin. Afghanistan’s fairy tale journey in world cricket has been a symbol of hope for the war torn country and is well chronicled.
The current crop is eager to create an impression and leave its mark on the tournament. The Afghan team arrived here from the cooler climes of its base in Dehradun and the final team was selected after selection trials which were held here.
The players have acclimatised well to the sultry weather conditions. The Afghans play their first match against India U19-B.
The schedule: March 5: India U19-A vs. South Africa U19; India U19-B vs. Afghanistan U19.
March 7: India U19-A vs. Afghanistan U19; India U19-B vs. South Africa U19.
March 9: Afghanistan U19 vs. South Africa U19; India U19-B vs. India U19-A.
March 11: Final & third place play-off.