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AUSTRALIA V SRI LANKA U19S 1-DAY

Uppal, Edwards named players of U19 series

27 April 2017

Jack Edwards (left) and Param Uppal (right) were Australia U19s' standouts with the bat // Brody Grogan

Nick Duxson


@NickDuxson

Nick Duxson


@NickDuxson

Up-and-coming NSW pair begun with different expectations but the two batsmen led the way for Australia's Under-19s in Tasmania

Australia Under 19s duo Jack Edwards and Param Uppal have plenty in common.

Both are products of a strong New South Wales pathways system. Both bat near the top of the order, capable of floating between positions, and like to take the game on. Neither is short on confidence. And they both starred on the field in the recent series against Sri Lanka Under 19s in Hobart.

So much so they were joint winners of the player of the series award.

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Uppal, 18, was one of the senior members of Australia's squad, while Edwards was the youngest, celebrating his 17th birthday during the series.

In their own style, both plundered runs against the Sri Lankans, and each reached a century. Edwards amassed 273 runs at 54.6; Uppal 210 at 42.

Uppal crafts teriffic ton for Aus U19s

"I wasn't really expecting too much at all coming into the series, I just wanted to have fun," Edwards said after the series.

"The enjoyment that I took into it helped me perform as well as I did, so I'll definitely keep using that in the future.

"If I just keep having fun, I know that the performances will come."

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At 195cm tall Edwards – younger brother of last summer's SCG Test cult hero Mickey Edwards – is an imposing figure at the crease.

He's capable of crashing boundaries at the top of the order, utilising his long levers to hit up and over as he demonstrated in the Youth ODIs. He showed another side to his game on day one of the Youth Test, leading a middle-order rescue mission with a magnificent century after Australia had been 3-45.

Edwards impresses with day one century

For Uppal, as one of three co-captains within the squad, he felt an expectation to lead.

"Going into the series knowing you're one of the co-captains, you want to lead from the from the front and just set the example for the boys," he said

"It was good to have a decent series with the bat."

For most of the series, the classy right-hander slotted in at first-drop, scoring a century in the first Youth ODI on the back of a blistering start from Edwards and Max Bryant, and a gritty half-century in the second match – combined with two wickets bowling off-spin – to be the player of the match in a losing cause.

Edwards described the series as a confidence booster, individually and from a squad perspective.

Quick Single: Edwards shining before his time

"It's probably just the confidence it gives you, to know that you can play against the best guys from another country your age, and play pretty well," he said.

"It gives me a bit of confidence going back home to grade cricket.

"Obviously, we have a bit of a rest now but we've still got things to work on and look to improve in the off-season.

"We all want to perform individually but the main goal is for the team to win. Hopefully we can keep building as a side and play well at the World Cup next year, if selected."

Full throttle Edwards falls just short of a century

The Manly-Warringah product now gets to put his feet up, while for Uppal, who plies his trade for Fairfield-Liverpool, it's a short break before joining up with the National Performance Squad.

Three months of non-stop cricket looms as the perfect preparation for a big season, with the 2018 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup looming large in January.

"Cricket's our sport, so we love to play it," Uppal said.

"I'll have a couple of weeks off, and then it's straight back into it. We've got the NPS, then the Sydney grade season, and hopefully the World Cup."

"You can get excited (about the World Cup), but you don't want to look too far ahead. You just want to work in the present and let the results take care of themselves."

Quick Single: Uppal leading the way for Aus U19s

Both young men know there's still plenty of water to go under the bridge before seeing their name in a World Cup squad.

And if anything, the Sri Lanka series only serves as an indicator of not only where they're at, but more where they can get better – and how good they can be in eight months' time.

"It's been a long season, so I'm looking forward to a bit of a break," Edwards said.

"There's a lot of time building up to the World Cup, and I've got a lot of things to work on still to make myself a better player, and I'm looking forward to working on them and hopefully see improvement."