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Sangha, Aussies poised for World Cup launch

Skipper believes he has the squad that can win the tournament, beginning today in New Zealand

Rising star Jason Sangha has already achieved more than many aspiring cricketers ever will.

As a 16-year-old, he made a debut century for Australia Under 19s in Dubai. Following that, he earned a rookie deal with the NSW Blues, seeing him train alongside some of the best players in the world.

From there, the Newcastle product's journey has seen him play in Australia's domestic one-day competition, for the Prime Minister's XI and even against England for the Cricket Australia XI – where he became the second-youngest player in history behind Indian great Sachin Tendulkar to score a first-class ton against the English.

Sangha joins Tendulkar with England ton

But the 18-year-old, who will captain his country at the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup which starts on Sunday, now has his sights set on silverware.

And if it's one of his teammates who makes all the runs during this tournament, provided the team keeps winning, he'll be more than happy.

"For me as a top-order batsman, that's my role – to score as many runs as I can for my team," Sangha said.

"But I just want to make sure I'm ticking the KPIs for my team, and making sure the team always comes first.

"I'm happy for someone else to keep whacking big hundreds and me just providing the support along the way."

Sangha has pulled on the green and gold already on multiple occasions.

He missed the chance to represent his country at the previous U19s World Cup, with Australia pulling out of the 2016 event in Bangladesh due to security concerns.

But that only made him more driven to get back there this year.

While he thinks there are a few nerves in the Australian camp, he insists it's also a settled group ready for the challenge of India at Tauranga's Bay Oval.

"To know that it's less than 24 hours away until I'll be walking out there representing my country, it's an amazing feeling," Sangha said.

"There's obviously going to be a little bit of nerves. First game, I think there's that little bit of pressure, everyone's first World Cup and no-one's really ever been in the situation before.

"I think everyone's embracing that challenge. It's something new that we've experienced, but I can't wait to actually go out there and play some cricket. It's going to be really good fun and all the boys are super keen to play."

The challenge is something that appeals to Sangha and his teammates – and they're expecting nothing short of a fierce one against India.

But he believes the Australian squad is good enough to combat everyone they face.

"We've done a bit of homework on the Indian guys, we know they've got a few good players," he added.

"For right now we've been focusing on our plans and what the Australian team is trying to do. If we stick to our plans and our tactics I think we should be fine for tomorrow.

"I've got full confidence that these guys can go all the way in this tournament.

"The only way we're going to do that is if we take it game by game. We don't have six, seven, eight good players, we have 15 good players and all these guys have shown why they're the best 15 players in the country.

"With a country like Australia who keep producing good cricketers, I've got full confidence that the boys can go all the way."

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