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Pak U-23 cricket skipper eyeing inaugural Emerging Teams Cup

Karachi, Aug 15: Pakistan''s Under-23 cricket team captain Hammad Azam has said that his side was aiming to clinch the title of the Emerging Teams Cup, whose inaugural event will be held from August 17-25 in Singapore.

According to the Express Tribune, the event has been initiated by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) to develop promising young cricketers in the region, with eight teams divided into two groups, of which the top two teams will get a slot in the semi-finals.

Eyeing the title, Azam, who featured in eight one-days and five Twenty20s, said that they have a balanced side with all players determined to do well, although he admitted that the upcoming challenge would not be an easy task for his team.

According to the young all-rounder, India will be a very tough side to play against while Afghanistan is also a very good team, although he added that they looked forward to a positive display and targeting to return home with the trophy. Backing Azam, coach Mansoor Rana said that the squad had prepared well for the tournament, adding that the players are in rhythm due to their participation in the various Ramazan events despite not having lengthy training sessions before the campaign.

Appreciating the ACC''s efforts initiate the tournament, Rana also said that the event is important given that the young players are not getting a taste of international cricket at home, adding that it is a good opportunity for players to get valuable international experience and prove their mettle.

Pakistan U23 is placed with India U23 in Group A, which also includes senior teams from Afghanistan and Nepal, while the UAE and Singapore, placed in Group B along with Sri Lanka U23 and Bangladesh U23, are the other two senior sides. Pakistan U23 are scheduled to clash with traditional rivals India U23 in their opening match on August 18, followed by games against Afghanistan and Nepal on August 19 and August 21 respectively, the report added.

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