PESHAWAR: Pakistan has announced squad for the Under-19 World Cup to be held in South Africa in January and February next year.

Rohail Nazir, the wicketkeeper-batsman, will lead the 15-man Pakistan squad. Naseem Shah, who recently made his Test debut versus Australia, has also been included in the squad.

Naseem Shah during his Test debut impressed everyone and he was noticed by cricket greats. Pakistan Under-19 coach Ijaz Ahmed said Naseem Shah is his main weapon and he needs him for the World Cup.

Ijaz Ahmed said Pakistan will mainly depend on spinners at home Test series against Sri Lanka and the fast bowling department will also be covered up by the experienced bowlers like Mohammad Abbas and Shaheen Shah Afridi. He said he has asked chief selector Misbahul Haq to release Naseem Shah for the important junior assignment.

Naseem Shah, who has just played seven first-class matches, has already become a world renowned bowler due to impressive bowling at Test debut at the age of 16. He can definitely prove lethal in South African conditions and boost Pakistan’s chances.

Captain Rohail Nazir, 18, has played nine first-class games and was also the captain of Pakistan Under-19 side in the recently-concluded Under-19 Asia Cup held in Sri Lanka. He scored his maiden one-day ton against India Under-19 during the mega event. Opener Haider Ali, who plays for Northern in first-class cricket, has been named the vice-captain.

Pakistan won the Under-19 World Cup in 2004 and 2006. This time, Pakistan are placed in Group C. Pakistan will face Scotland in their opening match on January 19, while the second game will be against Zimbabwe on January 22. Their third and final group fixture will be against Bangladesh on January 24.

The top two sides from all the four groups will qualify to the Super League. The Super League phase will begin on January 28, with the top four sides progressing to the semi-finals. The final will be played on February 9.

Pakistan Squad: Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Haider Ali, Mohammad Shehzad, Mohammad Huraira, Mohammad Irfan Khan, Rohail Nazir (c) Abbas Afridi, Fahad Munir, Qasim Akram, Amir Ali, Arish Ali Khan, Amir Khan, Naseem Shah, Tahir Hussain, Mohammad Haris.