Cricket’s brightest young talents are counting down the days until they take on the world’s best after the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 was officially launched in South Africa.
Sixteen nations from five continents are set to contest the 13th edition of the tournament starting on 17 January, with South Africa playing host for the first time since 1998.
Current internationals Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson are just a handful of those who made their name in the event across the years, with new stars looking to shine bright and follow in the footsteps of the game’s biggest heroes.
ICC Chief Executive, Manu Sawhney said: “The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup is special for so many reasons. It gives the future stars of our game an unrivalled experience of global events and the opportunity to contest for a World Cup.
Tournament Ambassador Ntini, who has taken more than 600 wickets for South Africa in an esteemed career spanning more than a decade, said: “I am so excited and honoured to see the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup come to South Africa. The event, which is a celebration of cricket, gives the game’s future stars the opportunity to experience global events and a real flavour of international cricket at senior level.
“I have very fond memories of my son’s U19 Cricket World Cup experience and am delighted that the people of South Africa can experience the event at first-hand.
“The event is a real celebration of the game and to bring the ultimate cricket experience to the communities of Potchefstroom, Bloemfontein, Benoni and Kimberley and to fans across South Africa is an incredible opportunity for the country to embrace and enjoy an exhilarating cricket World Cup.”
South Africa 2020 continues a proud tradition of global competition for the world’s leading teenage cricketers, with 27 current cricket-playing nations being represented since the first tournament in 1988. The upcoming edition will see Japan and Nigeria take part for the first time, two of 15 teams looking to stop India from defending the title they won in Mount Maunganui in 2018.
India are among the six former champions looking to reach the February 9 final in Potchefstroom, the exciting culmination of 48 matches held in venues spread across the country.
India are in Group A for the tournament with Japan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Group B comprises of Australia, England, Nigeria and the West Indies. Bangladesh, Pakistan, Scotland and Zimbabwe are in Group C while Group D comprises of Afghanistan, Canada, South Africa and United Arab Emirates.
Meanwhile, the ICC also announced the extension of its partnership with UNICEF through to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 with the focus on empowering women and girls through cricket.
The extension of the global charity partnership will once again see the ICC provide UNICEF with a platform for fundraising to help bring positive change to women and girls and drive awareness for the work that UNICEF does as a global champion for children’s rights in cricket playing nations around the world.
During the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, UNICEF raised $180,000 as part of One Day 4 Children and this money will go directly to fund a girls’ cricket project in Afghanistan. The programme which will run for 12 months, will comprise of a new competitive cricket competition for school aged girls as well as training for 120 teachers and providing cricket equipment to deliver cricket and a community outreach programme working with elders to reinforce the positive impact girls playing cricket can have.
Monies raised during the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 will go to similar projects in cricket playing nations, including an innovative programme to promote girls’ participation in cricket in Sri Lanka and build peace in communities. Fans can be part of changing lives through cricket by donating various set amounts when buying tickets and at in-stadia activations. Fans watching globally will also be able to join in and make a difference through an online mechanism that will be promoted throughout the event.
Manu Sawhney said: “We are delighted to extend our partnership with UNICEF to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. I want us to harness the extraordinary reach of our sport to empower women and girls around the world through cricket and using ICC events as a fundraising platform enables us to do that.
“Sport for development and in particular cricket can be a powerful tool to transform lives and the projects in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are designed to have a long-term positive impact with teachers being trained to deliver cricket to girls for years to come.”
UNICEF Australia Chair Ann Sherry AO said: “Cricket has tremendous power to make a difference in the lives of children, especially girls, by building leadership skills, empowering them to achieve their goals and building bridges within communities – so that we can ultimately build a better world together.”
“We are excited to partner with the ICC on the Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 and enormously proud that Australia is hosting this important event for women.”
The ICC and UNICEF partnership commenced in 2015, as part of the ICC’s global community outreach programme ‘Cricket 4 Good’. The partnership and public donations continue to bring positive change to children through the programmes in cricket playing nations focused on empowering women and girls in cricket.