Bangalore, Jul 14: Former England captain Nasser Hussain has thrown his weight behind the forthcoming ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2012, to be staged in Queensland, Australia, from August 11 to 26, and has also advised youngsters appearing in the ninth edition of the event to make optimum use of this opportunity, an International Cricket Council (ICC) media release said on Saturday.
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U19 World Cup 2012 squads
Hussain himself represented England at the inaugural ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in Australia in 1987/88 and cracked four half-centuries. He went on to represent England in 96 Tests and 88 ODIs in an illustrious 15-year career from 1989 to 2004.
"My suggestion and advice to the cricketers will be to focus and make optimum use of the time they will be in Australia. In life, you don't get too many opportunities. I would say make use of it and grab the opportunity," said Hussain, who is now one of the most respected voices in the sport.
Hussain admitted that he learnt a lot from his time in Australia during the same event 24 years ago.
Inzamam had a modest ICC U19 CWC 1988. But he retired in 2007 after 16 years of international cricket after scoring 8,830 Test runs (average 49.6) and 11,739 ODI runs (average 39.52).
"The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup was probably the right opportunity for me at the right time. That tour helped me clearly understand where I stood in my age group and what I needed to do if I was keen to pursue my career in cricket," said Inzamam, who captained Pakistan in 31 Tests, 87 ODIs and one T20I.
"The ICC U19 CWC is an event where opportunity meets talent. Cricketers of the same age group from around the world get together to compete for the biggest prize in that category. If you have little bit of talent and spark, then this is the event from where you can only get better and make a name for yourself.
"We all know how well ICC runs and organises its events and when these events take place in a country like Australia, I don't think talented teenagers can ask for anything better or more."
Inzamam hoped some of the cricketers from the ICC U19 CWC 2012 will return to Australia for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Inzamam advised the teenagers to value this tournament and make it count. "My advice to these players will be to respect this opportunity and make maximum use of it. And if they succeed in Australia, then sky is the limited for them."
Like Inzamam, Sanath Jayasuriya also played in the ICC CWC 1992 after having represented Sri Lanka in the ICC U19 CWC 1988. At that event, Jayasuriya's highest score was 53 against India but the explosive left-hander retired from international cricket after playing 586 interntional matches for his country in which he scored 21,032 runs, including 6,973 runs in Tests, 13,430 runs in ODIs and 629 runs in T20Is.
Jayasuriya said he cannot forget the ICC U19 CWC as it was the first of his many trips to Australia. "That was my first tour actually. I had never been out of the country before and it was good to be part of the system. Most of my team-mates were from Colombo and just a couple of us were from outstations. It was a massive experience.
"I remember I had language and food problems. It was a unique experience in every sense and it would be fair to say that the event is Australia gave us a taste of what to expect in our careers."
Jayasuriya believed the ICC U19 CWC was a perfect stage for promising cricketers to make a name for themselves. "This tournament provides a lot of opportunities to young and promising players. If you see, most of our cricketers who have played in ICC U19 CWCs have gone on to do well at the big stage."