Japan qualify for U-19 World Cup after opponent players face suspension

Japan qualify for U-19 World Cup after opponent players face suspension

Japan hosting the tournament were to face PNG in the final of the qualifying tournament but won without the match being played.

Japan U19
Japan U19. (Photo Source: Twitter)

It is known to be the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’. And now, Japan also established itself as a rising star in the world of cricket. The ‘Nippon’ has qualified for the 2020 Under-19 World Cup which will be held in South Africa after Papua New Guinea (PNG) – another rising side in the cricketing world – had 11 of their 14 players suspended by their own board on disciplinary grounds.

Japan hosting the East Asia-Pacific Qualifier were to meet PNG in the final. However, following the suspension of the PNG team, they were confirmed as winners of the qualifier and have secured a place in the U19 tournament that will be held in South Africa in January-February next year. Nigeria too have qualified for the tournament for the first time in history.

The PNG cricket board thanked Japan for organising the tournament and wished them well for the mega event. The board specified “internal disciplinary reasons and failing to adhere to our strict codes of conduct” as the main cause for the suspension of the players and the forfeiture of the game. It was also revealed that the players in question were caught shoplifting in Sano, the Japanese city which hosted the tournament.

Players released only after diplomatic negotiations

According to the ABC Pacific Beat, the players were released only after intensive diplomatic negotiations were held between Japan and PNG.

“Parents will be briefed first and foremost and brought up to speed with what’s gone on. From there they’ll be an internal investigation then they’ll obviously be sanctions and bans and what not that flows on from there once we’ve got right to the bottom of who’s involved, (and) who…the ring leaders (are),” CPNG head coach Joe Dawes was quoted as saying ABC.

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“The local police, the ICC, the EAP regional staff, everyone’s been brilliant with this. Young men have made some mistakes, but they (the police/ICC etc) have been really good with them, we’ve been able to get an outcome where the boys are on their way home.”

The PNG team was favourite against Japan but their forfeiture gave the Japanese their first-ever opportunity to play in an ICC organized event at any age and format.

India are the reigning champions in the U19 Cricket World Cup after they beat Australia in the final of the 2018 edition in New Zealand.