Cricket Australia’s (CA) Youth Selection Panel (YSP) has today announced a 15-player Australia Under-19 squad ahead of next month’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, beginning on February 14 in the United Arab Emirates.
Australia will compete in Group B of the tournament against Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Namibia, with the top two teams progressing to the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Super League quarter-finals.
Australia Under-19 squad:
Thomas Andrews (NT)
Ben Ashkenazi (VIC)
James Bazley (QLD)
Jake Doran (NSW)
Matthew Fotia (VIC)
Alex Gregory (SA)
Benjamin McDermott (QLD)
Jaron Morgan (WA)
Damien Mortimer (NSW)
Matthew Short (VIC)
Kelvin Smith (SA)
Billy Stanlake (QLD)
Cameron Valente (SA)
Guy Walker (VIC)
Sean Willis (TAS)
The 15-player squad is a selection of Australia’s top emerging talent, including PM’s XI representative Ben McDermott, son of former Australian fast-bowler and Test bowling coach Craig; 2013 U19 National Championship player of the tournament Billy Stanlake; South Australian Bupa Sheffield Shield batsman Kelvin Smith; and 17-year-old NSW batsman Jake Doran who recently played in the Chairman’s XI match against England in Alice Springs.
CA National Talent Manager Greg Chappell said: “The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup is a wonderful opportunity for our country’s best young talent to perform on the international stage, following in the footsteps of players like Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson, who have previously taken the field for Australia in the youth World Cup.
“The balance and flexibility of this squad is pleasing, containing a solid core of Australia’s most exciting cricketers.
“Jake Doran and Ben McDermott are skilful stroke-makers, who also provide excellent glove work as wicketkeepers, and join a number of genuine allrounders selected in the squad who will provide solid depth with bat and ball.
“Alex Gregory and James Bazley can bat up the order and bowl pace, helping make up a strong bowling contingent, including Billy Stanlake, Ben Ashkenazi, Matt Fotia, Cameron Valente and Guy Walker. The depth of Australia’s fast-bowling stocks is in good health and indicative of the high level of talent that continues to come through our system.
“Tom Andrews is our specialist spinner and will be supported by top-order batsmen Matthew Short and Kelvin Smith who each bowl quality off-spin.
“Our batting is a good mix of left- and right-handers, explosive strikers and players that can build partnerships and have the ability to make big scores and take us to competitive totals, including Jaron Morgan, Damien Mortimer and Sean Willis.
“We believe the squad’s maturity and leadership qualities will be a real strength when taking on quality opposition during the tournament. We will have to hit the ground running, so competition for the final XI spots will be tight.”
Next month’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup follows the last 12 months of Australia’s U19 program, which has tested the country’s emerging players in a variety of conditions – from New Zealand to Darwin to India – in order to expose them to challenges faced at international level.
Australia’s squad for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup will be coached by CA’s High Performance Coach Graeme Hick. The squad will depart at the end of this month to play three matches in Sri Lanka as build-up for the tournament.
Australia’s ICC Under-19 World Cup group fixtures:
Sat 15 Feb: Australia v Namibia, Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Mon 17 Feb: Australia v Afghanistan, Abu Dhabi Oval 2
Wed 19 Feb: Australia v Bangladesh, Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi