Former Pakistan batsman and head coach of the Pakistan U-19 squad Ijaz Ahmed feels that his side has it in him to defeat arch-rivals Pakistan in the upcoming ICC Youth World Cup beginning in South Africa on 17 January.

“India has a very good cricket system and it is organised but I know that we have more passion than them when we play against each other and that is how we also beat them in the semi-finals of the recent Asian Emerging Nations Cup,” Ijaz said as quoted by PTI.

Ijaz, a veteran of 60 Tests and 250 ODIs, was also in charge of the Pakistan Emerging side which defeated India before going on to win the title in Bangladesh last year.

“Even in the past, we beat India because of our greater passion and this time also I know the passion of our players will prevail over them although they have a very strong outfit,” he added.

Notably, Pakistan have already won the U-19 World Cup twice in the past.

Ijaz, however stated that eventually it would depend on how his team performs on that particular day.

“It is the same in the World Cup it does not matter which team is number one or defending champions what will matter is how a team plays on a given day. I personally feel our team is well balanced,” he said.

Ijaz also denied the Indian side being at an advantage despite the Indian U-19 team already having prior experience of South Africa, New Zealand and Zimbabwe in South Africa before the commencement of the World Cup.

“Our players have also trained hard in Lahore and we have played around 11 matches. We will also reach South Africa nine days before the World Cup and we have some practice games and I think our preparations are also very good for the tournament,” he said.

The former Pakistan cricketer added that Pakistan would not miss the services of Naseem Shah and his last-minute exclusion may not have too much of an impact on the team’s performance.

“Look there was no controversy at all. The way we now see things is that you can’t expect a MBA to go and take BA exams. That is how we look at Naseem Shah, he has made the grade for Pakistan and now he should be performing for the senior team,” Ijaz said.

“We have a couple of exciting young talent in the ranks. I expect Rohail and Haider to play for the senior team in two to three year’s time, they are that good,” he concluded.