U19 stars set sights on World Cup goals

Some of Australia's best teenage prospects are spending the winter in Brisbane in a bid to continue Australia's proud cricket traditions

Cricket Network

21 July 2017, 12:50 PM

With the Under-19 World Cup less than six months away, several of the country's brightest teenage prospects are spending their winter in intensive skills camps at Brisbane's Bupa National Cricket Centre.

Among them is Cameron Green, a teenage rising star who has already made his mark on the Sheffield Shield, and Jack Edwards, the player of the series from the Australia U19s' most recent series.

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Alongside him is player of the series from Australia's recent U19 series against Sri Lanka in Hobart, the dynamic New South Wales allrounder Edwards.

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Australia Under 19s coach Matthew Elliott, the former 21-Test opening batsman, says there's plenty be gained from the camp at this time of the year.

"We want to give our emerging players a bit of extra experience where we can," Elliott said.

"Part of that is having them up here at the National Cricket Centre to do some specialist skills work, and then also looking to the future – giving them exposure to that next step by working in line with players in the National Performance Squad and that program."

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Edwards is amongst a handful of players at the camp who already have Australia Under 19s experience, alongside Queensland Bulls rookie Max Bryant, Victoria's Jono Merlo and Western Australia's Matthew Spoors. 

Western Australia allrounder Bradley Hope, Victoria batsman Edward Newman and New South Wales keeper-batsman Matthew Gilkes are also working to improve their skills ahead of the ICC's pinnacle underage event.

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With white-ball cricket the name of the game at the Under-19 World Cup, Elliott said there had been an emphasis on situational play and developing skills for the different stages of 50-over cricket.

"We're trying to cover the three phases of the game – first-up, the middle overs and then the back-end, and pre-empting what we might expect at the World Cup," Elliott said.

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"For some guys, it's about developing controlled power-hitting skills for the back-end of the innings.

"For others, it's working on that first 10 overs against the new ball and their ability to tick the strike over, particularly with the potential for the wickets to nip around a bit early in New Zealand.

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"Then there's a spin focus in the middle overs in preparation for playing subcontinent teams, and working on the hybrid wicket in Brisbane to prepare for that."

The next Under 19 Cricket World Cup will be held in New Zealand between January 13 and February 3 and will feature 16 teams.