Hosts West Indies will launch their 2022 ICC Under-19 World Cup bid with a clash against three-time champions Australia, after being installed in a group alongside Sri Lanka and Scotland.
The 48-match itinerary, announced Wednesday by the International Cricket Council, sees 2016 champions West Indies in the curtain-raiser on January 14 at the Guyana National Stadium – one of ten host venues across four countries for the tournament which runs until February 5.
Sixteen teams will compete in four groups also spread across venues in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis.
Sixteen warm-up matches will be contested from January 9-12 in St Kitts and Nevis and Guyana, while Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua will host one semi-final on February 2, with the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, also in Antigua, staging the other semi-final on February 1 and the final four days later.
He continued: “At the same time, our U19 head coach, Floyd Reifer, and his coaching staff have been busy preparing our team for competition, using innovative methods to keep them active even while they were restricted from travel.
“West Indies has a proud Under-19 cricket history, with several bright talents blossoming into international stars over the years. We therefore expect our current team of under-19 players to do us proud in the 2022 tournament.
“I am also confident that our visitors will experience the best of our world-famous Caribbean culture and hospitality in Antigua & Barbuda, Guyana, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Trinidad & Tobago.”
Reigning champions Bangladesh have been installed in Group A with England, Canada and United Arab Emirates while traditional powerhouses India are alongside Ireland, South Africa and Uganda in Group B.
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe comprise Group C.
The Plate stage of the tournament will be played in Trinidad and Tobago from January 25-31, with the second round Super League set for Antigua and Barbuda from January 26.
Warner Park and Conaree in St Kitts, along with the Brian Lara Stadium, Queen’s Park Oval and the Diego Martin Sporting Complex in Trinidad, will also stage tournament games.
Sandy Point in St Kitts and Everest in Guyana will host warm-up matches only.
ICC’s head of events, Chris Tetley, said there was great anticipation surrounding the tournament.
“We are delighted that the West Indies will be hosting this event and we wish all the teams the very best in their preparations for the tournament and to Cricket West Indies in organising the event.”
The tournament is the first-ever ICC Under-19 being staged in the Caribbean.