There’s still plenty of room for improvement, but Australia Under 19s quick Ryan Hadley is confident his team’s best is good enough to win the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup.
Australia was humbled in its tournament opener against India on Sunday by 100 runs, but bounced back to dominate Zimbabwe en route to a seven-wicket win in a match which lasted little longer than 50 overs yesterday.
“We know we didn’t play our best cricket that day (against India),” Hadley said.
“If we do, we’re better than anyone else in the competition. If we can put a complete performance together and we back our skills 100 per cent, we’re right up there with any other team.
“No confidence lost (from the India result), and once we got that win under our belt I think we’re a little bit more relaxed than what we were.
“We still haven’t played our best cricket I don’t think, but to be able to knock off Zimbabwe pretty comfortably yesterday puts us in good stead for the upcoming games and hopefully a push for a finals run.”
Hadley, a 19-year-old fast bowler from New South Wales, missed Australia’s World Cup opener against India.
Capable of pushing past 140 kmph on the speed gun, the tall right-armer sustained a side injury while playing for NSW Metro at under-19 level in early December. Six weeks of hard work with Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia support staff now has Hadley hopefully primed for a big impact on the tournament.
He admits it was a “relief” getting through the match against Zimbabwe unscathed, generating good pace and bounce to claim 1-39 off 10 overs.
“It was awesome (being back bowling),” Hadley said.
“Once I got through that first over or so, It was pretty good just knowing that I’m back and bowling a decent pace.
“It’s always a little bit nerve-wracking coming back from an injury like that, but now that I’m back and bowled a solid 10 overs, it should be sweet going forward.”
Hadley was one of the star performers in Australia’s series win against Sri Lanka in April last year, before spending the winter with the National Performance Squad in Brisbane.
With yesterday’s player of the match Xavier Bartlett, Hadley, Jason Ralston and Zak Evans in the squad - plus a number of seam-bowling allrounders - Australia’s building attack is building a possible quarter-final clash against either England or Bangladesh.
But first, a win against emerging neighbours Papua New Guinea is required on Friday to see Australia through to the quarter final stages.
“We don’t want to take anything for granted, upsets can happen,” Hadley said.
“But we’re just going to play aggressively and make sure we that we put our best performance on the park.”
Australia Under 19s squad: Jason Sangha (c), Will Sutherland (vc), Xavier Bartlett, Max Bryant, Jack Edwards, Zak Evans, Jarrod Freeman, Ryan Hadley, Baxter Holt, Nathan McSweeney, Jonathan Merlo, Lloyd Pope, Jason Ralston, Param Uppal, Austin Waugh. Coach: Ryan Harris. Assistant Coach: Chris Rogers.
January 14: Australia (228) def by India (7-328) at Bay Oval, Tauranga
January 17: Australia (3-135) def Zimbabwe (134) at Lincoln No.3
January 19: Australia v PNG at Lincoln No.3 (10.30am local)