England all fit and raring to go

Published: Saturday, February 16, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Alex Wakely's side head to Malaysia hopeful of repeating the exploits of the 1998 England side which under the captaincy of Owais Shah captured the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup. The side has experienced some indifferent form in the past year, including a 3-1 ODI series loss in the summer of 2007 to Pakistan U-19. But the team will take some invaluable experience of playing in Malaysian conditions with them having toured there last year, where they played a series against the hosts, Sri Lanka and India. The side has also made extensive preparations at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough and on a three-week tour to Sri Lanka prior to the event.

This competition has been the testing ground for a number of international cricketers for England, including the likes of Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain, Mark Ramprakash, Ravi Bopara and Liam Plunkett. And the roll-call of players who have gone onto represent their country at senior level after taking part in an ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup is something that should inspire Wakely's charges.

Watch out:

Skipper Wakely: made his first-class debut for Northamptonshire last year, scoring 38 and 66 on debut against Somerset, is a good prospect for England up the order. Batsman Billy Godleman, who scored an unbeaten 149 against Pak in an ODI last year. Sam Northeast: a prolific run-getter for Kent.

On bowling front, 6ft 8 paceman Steven Finn, who became the youngest player since Fred Titmus in 1949 to make his county debut for Middlesex, aged just 16 years old, and who spent the latter part of 2007 in India with the England Performance Programme squad. Finn will share new-ball with Glamorgan's James Harris, who became the first 17-year-old to take a seven-wicket haul in the County C'ship while the likes of Chris Woakes and Liam Dawson may also fill a useful role with the ball.

Squad: Alex Wakely (captain), Ben Brown, Liam Dawson, Steven Finn, Billy Godleman, James Harris, James Lee, Stuart Meaker, Sam Northeast, Daniel Redfern, James Taylor, Thomas Westley, Chris Woakes, Greg Wood and James Goodman.

English Colts in U-19 Cup events:

1988: Semi-final; 1998: Runners-up; 2000: 3rd in Super League Pool; 2002: 4th in Super League Pool; 2004: Semi-final; 2006: Semi-final


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