Melbourne [Australia], Dec 31 (ANI): Ahead of the 12th edition of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup, which will be held in New Zealand from January 13 to February 3, cricketers from Australia and New Zealand recalled what the big matches taught them.
Here is what these accomplished cricketers have to say:
"We won the tournament; so that was one of my first taste of real success within a cricket team. Looking back, I was not sure where cricket was going to take me. That was certainly the start of a journey, but definitely a very enjoyable one. We had a couple of trips with that group or a similar group. I forged some friendships that remain strong till this day," said George Bailey, who played the U-19 Cup in 2002.
Mitchell Marsh, who led the team to victory in 2010, said, "I think probably the biggest thing I learned is just playing under pressure. At that age, you tend to just play club cricket and play for your state, but playing in a World Cup means a lot for you as a team and also for the country as well - and the future of the Australian Cricket. You learn to play under all sorts of different pressures, and you're also playing in foreign conditions around the world as a young player."
"We had the Under 19 World Cup in Sri Lanka, and it was only the second time that I had ever played in the sub-continent. My learnings from that were different ways to play spin. You're playing against a lot of different countries. We played South Africa on a pretty good wicket; we played against West Indies on a turning wicket in Colombo, and then to come up against Pakistan in the final who went on to win it, it's just different ways that guys go about approaching those kind of conditions," said Aaron Finch, who played in 2006.
Here is what the New Zealand players have to say:
"It's a great opportunity; it tests your skills against the best of players in the world at that age. Our guys this year are lucky enough to do that in home conditions. Any World Cup in your home conditions is, I guess, something special. We were fortunate enough to play the ICC World Cup in 2015 in New Zealand and now you guys get to do it in the U-19 World Cup in your own country. It's exciting and I'm sure the guys will be following it closely," said Tim Southee, who played in 2006.
"It's the first taste of international cricket. Under-19 is pretty exciting, it is a fantastic pathway leading forward to higher honours. It's the next step, coming from club cricket to I guess international cricket as a 19-year-old," said Tom Blundell, who played in 2010.(ANI)