Will Luxton is confident England have the tools to “go and do something special” at the forthcoming Under 19s World Cup in the West Indies.
Luxton and his team-mates are coming towards the end of five days in isolation following their arrival in St Kitts, where they will face reigning champions Bangladesh in their opening game on January 16.
Luxton, a star batter in Yorkshire’s Royal London Cup campaign last summer, is the county’s sole representative in the main squad for the tournament, though fledgling seamer Ben Cliff is a travelling reserve.
Eighteen-year-old Luxton and co are in Group A alongside Bangladesh, Canada and the UAE, with the top two teams in each of the four groups qualifying for the quarter-finals.
“It’s an exciting prospect to play against so many different nations,” said Luxton, who debuted for the Under 19s in their late summer home series against the West Indies and then went to Sri Lanka in December.
“It’s a new challenge for everyone, and it will be good fun.
“We have a really good group of players here. Beating the West Indies 4-2 in the summer, I feel like we could have won 6-0.
“If we all play our best games, we don’t have to fear anyone.
“We can definitely go and do something special.
“If we can get through the group stage, anyone can beat anyone on the day from there.
“We have loads of talent. Tom Prest (England’s captain) has scored a load of runs at second-team level and played in Hampshire’s first team last summer.
“There’s a lot of first-team experience, both County Championship and Royal London. We have a really good side.”
After beating the West Indies, England lost 3-2 in Sri Lanka before Christmas.
In eight matches across both series, Luxton scored 184 runs with one half-century – 84 not out in the final game in Sri Lanka.
“You have to assume India are going to be up there, probably as favourites,” continued Luxton.
“But when we played Sri Lanka, everybody was raving about them because they had just beaten Bangladesh 5-0. And Bangladesh won the last World Cup.
“We just have to go in with the mindset that we can beat anyone.
“Bangladesh first up. If we can get through that, it will give us loads of confidence for the rest of the tournament.”
Bradford Grammar School educated Luxton impressed in seven Royal London Cup appearances for Yorkshire last summer, scoring 165 including a debut 68 against Northamptonshire at Scarborough.
“Playing in the first team builds that belief that you’re good enough. But it’s not just about ‘I can do it’, it’s also about learning how to do it.
“Playing those Royal London games alongside some top players was a great learning curve for me.
“I was just happy to get a game.
“If you’d have said to me at the start of the year, ‘You’ll play six or seven Royal London games’, I would have snatched your hand off.
“But everybody wants to win a trophy. That would have been great.”
A trophy in the Caribbean on February 5 would be the perfect way to start 2022 for Luxton and maybe Cliff should he be involved at any stage.
“Myself and Ben have come a long way together,” said Luxton. “We played Under 11s, maybe even Under 10s, together. So it’s a proud moment for us both and our families as well.”
And on what he hopes to achieve this year, Luxton said: “Win the World Cup and hopefully then get back to Yorkshire, play in the Royal London Cup again, try and build into the Championship team and also play a few T20s.
“That would be ideal, but I don’t expect it just to happen. There’s a lot of work which needs to go in for that to happen.
“I would probably say I’m more suited to one-day cricket at the moment, but that’s purely because I’ve played more white ball cricket recently.
“But the red ball stuff is something I’m definitely keen to work on. Playing in the Championship is a big ambition of mine.”
Luxton captained Yorkshire’s Academy last summer, something which he believes has been important to his development as a cricketer.
He added: “It definitely has helped a lot.
“It’s only when you captain a side that you realise how quickly the game goes!
“I’m not captain out here, but I’ve still had that experience, which can maybe help the skipper out.”