One time U19 WC winner England is seeded in Group C at the 2016 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup along with West Indies, Zimbabwe and debutant Fiji.
England had won this youth WC in 1998 but after that they never reached the final of the tournament. It is expected that England will be the favourite in this group.
England skipper Brad Taylor is feeling exciting to lead the team in the U19 CWC. He said, “Captaincy is something that came around pretty quickly for me, which makes it even more, exciting. I had not captained the team until we played in Sri Lanka, but I really enjoyed that experience and we’re all excited about playing in a World Cup. That tournament was really important for us. Conditions in Bangladesh are going to be very different from what we’re used to in England, so that allowed us to acclimatise to similar conditions and pitches. We improved with every game we played and learned lots of lessons.”
England will play first match in the 2016 U19 CWC against debutant Fiji and then they play against West Indies and Zimbabwe. Taylor said, “We play Fiji in our first game and we have to concentrate on winning that one first. We won’t be taking them lightly and the same goes for Zimbabwe in our last game. They have shown at the senior level recently that they can still be challenging opponents.”
Taylor is inspired by the previous England team who reached in the semi-final in 2014 U19 WC. The team had finished at 3rd in that tournament. Taylor said, “The team did brilliantly in Dubai when expectations before the tournament were not very high. But they put in some brilliant performances, especially beating India to get to the semi-finals. Hopefully, we can do as well as them or even better.”
West Indies is expected to perform well in the 2016 U19 CWC. The best performance by them was in 2004 where they ended as a runner-up. In 2014 U19 CWC, West Indies had finished at 6th position.
Former West Indies captain and current chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd confident about the teenagers. Lloyd said, “We have put together a group of players we believe will perform for the West Indies. We see them as future Test cricketers and this tournament is an opportunity for them to be exposed at the international level against strong opposition.”
Zimbabwe who had finished in the last tournament (2014) at 11th position is expected to show some positive character in the upcoming U19 CWC.
Fiji will be featured for the first time in this youth tournament. The skipper of Fiji U19 cricket team, Saimoni Tuitoga is ready to take the challenge as he said, “We are honored to be the first to represent the nation in a cricket World Cup. It’s not going to be easy but we know this opportunity is one that should not be taken for granted and want to make sure that we push the Tier One nations. For our families, our coaches and for us we want to make sure that we fight through to the end and at least try and win two of our three group matches. The underdog tag relieves a lot of pressure and expectation from us.”
England – Brad Taylor (capt.), George Bartlett, Jack Burnham, Mason Crane, Sam Curran, Ryan Davies, Aneurin Donald, George Garton, Ben Green, Max Holden, Dan Lawrence, Saqib Mahmood, Tom Moores, Callum Taylor, Jared Warner.
Coach – Andy Hurry
West Indies – Shimron Hetmyer (capt.), Shahid Crooks, Keacy Carty, Michael Frew, Jyd Goolie, Tevin Imlach, Alzarri Joseph, Ryan John, Kirstan Kallicharan, Obed McCoy, Gidron Pope, Keemo Paul, Odean Smith, Shamar Springer, Emmanuel Stewart.
Coach – Graeme West
Zimbabwe – Brandon Mavuta (capt.), Trevvor Chibvongodze, Jeremy Ives, Adam Keefe, Kundai Matigimu, William Mashinge, Wessly Madhevere, Rugare Magarira, Sydney Murombo, Ryan Murray, Richard Ngarava, Akshay Patel, Brendan Sly, Shaun Snyder, Milton Shumba.
Coach – Stephen Mangongo
Fiji – Saimoni Tuitoga (capt.), Josaia Baleicikoibia, Malakai Cokovaki, Petero Cabebula, Jack Charters, Jordan Dunham, Vaibhav Kapadia, Delaimatuku Maraiwai, Ledua Qionivoka, Samuel Saunokonoko, Cakacaka Tikoisuva, Peni Vuniwaqa, Sosiceni Weleilakeba, Tuwai Yabaki.
Coach – Shane Jurgensen
Group C schedule:
Jan 27: England vs Fiji, MA Aziz Stadium (Chittagong)
Jan 29: England vs West Indies, Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium (Chittagong)
Jan 29: Fiji vs Zimbabwe, MA Aziz Stadium (Chittagong)
Jan 31: England v Zimbabwe, Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium (Chittagong)
Jan 31: Fiji vs West Indies, MA Aziz Stadium (Chittagong)
Feb 2: West Indies v Zimbabwe, Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium (Chittagong)