In just over a month’s time the New Zealand Under 19 team will begin their quest for age-group supremacy in the U19 World Cup in Australia.
The tournament begins on August 11th with matches played across Townsville, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. A total of 16 teams and over 400 players will compete in the event, with the final to be played on August 26th.
New Zealand will be represented by 15 of the nation’s best young cricketers and will be well prepared heading into the tournament.
The team make the trip over to Queensland on July 24th, giving them three weeks to adjust o conditions before their opening match.
In that time they will take part in a six day training camp, have two practise matches against West Indies and Scotland, followed by two warm-up matches against South Africa and Nepal. On August 12th they will then face Scotland in their first match of the competition.
For much of the team heading over it won’t be their first taste of conditions across the ditch, with 13 of the 15 players having taken part in the Under 19 Quadrangular Series against Australia, India and England earlier this year.
While missing out on the final, there were certainly exciting signs shown from the young stars, beating India who would go on to be overall victors.
The only two players named in the side who weren’t in Townsville for that competition were Arnie Yugaraja and Robert O’Donnell. Yugaraja and O’Donnell have worked closely with management and showed enough to warrant their inclusion.
They along with their team mates will face Scotland, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the pool stages and need to finish in the top two to progress. Pakistan in particular will be a challenge for the Kiwi team, having finished runner-up to Australia in the 2010 tournament.
New Zealand’s best result was in 1998 in which the side finished runner-up to England. The team will be captained by Wellington’s Will Young and coached by former BLACKCAPS Paul Wiseman and Matt Horne.