Harris confident young charges ready

Former Aussie quick and U19 coach confident Australia good enough to bring home World Cup

Australia Under 19s coach Ryan Harris believes his side is good.

Good enough to compete against the best in the world, and beat them if they play to their potential at the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.

Australia’s campaign kicks off with a crucial match against India at Tauranga’s Bay Oval, and the former fast bowler says his side is raring to go.

“Since being here in New Zealand we’ve had a good game against Sri Lanka, it was disappointing that the rain came and we missed out on a game against South Africa,” Harris said.

“That said, the guys have had enough cricket, we’re in season at home so they have come from having good summers and have played plenty of cricket - they’re ready to go.

“Hopefully we can show everyone what we can do and entertain people with the way we play.”

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Among the rising stars representing Australia will be Jason Sangha, the 18-year-old NSW Blues rookie who recently scored a first-class century against England, who will captain the side.

Six players - including Sangha, Victoria Bushrangers all-rounder Will Sutherland and Queensland Bulls big hitter Max Bryant - have played List A cricket in Australia.

Harris believes the depth of his squad is one of its biggest strengths.

“I think we’ve got a really well-balanced squad that can compete in these conditions and compete against some good opposition,” he said.

“It’s a really good all-round side - we have good spinners, good batters and good fast bowlers.

“We’ve got guys like leg-spinner Lloyd Pope who has taken plenty of wickets at underage level, Jack Edwards who scored a big hundred in our recent Under 19 National Championships final and Jason Sangha, the captain, who made a big hundred against England and has scored a lot of runs in grade cricket.”

The focus is firstly on powerhouse India, before the squad takes on fellow Group B opponents Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea at Lincoln.

And for Harris, it’s about learning through the group stages and setting up a tilt at the title Australia has not won since 2010 under the captaincy of Mitch Marsh - plus developing future stars for the national side.

“First and foremost, we want to win our group games - that’s one of the main things - but we want to make sure these guys are learning too,” Harris said.

“Ultimately winning is what we want to do, but we’ve got to make sure we keep improving and learning about the game and all that goes with it, playing against good players, playing in tournament-play and being away from home.”

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