ECB today announced the squad for the ICC Under 19 World Cup taking place in New Zealand from 16th-30th January 2010 and have included Azeem Rafiq and Joe Root in a 15-man squad. The bi-annual tournament involves 16 teams with England facing Afghanistan, Hong Kong and India in the group stages.
England U19 Squad: Michael Bates (Hampshire), Paul Best (Warwickshire), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Nathan Buck (Leicestershire), Jos Buttler ( Somerset), C hris Dent (Gloucestershire), Matthew Dunn ( Surrey), C alum Haggett ( Somerset), Ateeq Javid (Warwickshire), Jack Manuel (Worcestershire), David Payne (Gloucestershire), Azeem Rafiq ( Yorkshire), Joe Root ( Yorkshire), Ben Stokes ( Durham) and James Vince (Hampshire).
England U19 coach Mark Robinson (Professional Cricket Manager for Sussex ) who has been seconded to the role for the duration of the tournament will be spending time with the squad over the next four weeks getting to know the players before selecting a captain.
The 15 players will undergo an intense period of training in the run up to the tournament including fitness and skill work at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough, fielding and team building in Cardiff, leadership challenges at the army base at Catterick, Yorkshire , and fitness and fielding at Manchester United’s training ground at Carrington.
The squad will leave on 1st January for Wellington, New Zealand where they will spend a week acclimatising before reporting to Christchurch for the start of the World Cup. England will play two warm up matches against Papua New Guinea U19 on 11th January and New Zealand U19 on 12th January.
England’s first match in the group stages will be against Hong Kong on 16th January followed by Afghanistan on 18th January and current U19 World Cup holders India on 20th January. The top two teams in each group will progress to the quarter finals.
Elite Player Development Manager John Abrahams said: “The U19 World Cup is a fantastic opportunity for the squad to test themselves against some of the most talented young cricketers in the world and we will be working hard over the next six weeks to ensure that we are able to produce our best cricket in New Zealand .”
England’s best result at the ICC U19 World Cup was in 1998 when they defeated New Zealand to win the tournament