Bangalore, Jul 29: Sri Lanka all-rounder Angelo Mathews has said playing in the Under-19 World Cup gave him "lot of courage."
This year's ICC Under-19 World Cup 2012 will be held next month in Australia from August 11 to 26.
The 25-year-old from Colombo had a quiet tournament in 2004 in Bangladesh, when he played in just two matches and took two wickets, he understands the importance of this event in the development and growth of future stars.
"As a 16-year-old I was very excited and nervous going into the World Cup because it was my first ICC event. And though I played in two matches only, it gave me tremendous amount of courage," Mathews said in a media release issued by ICC on Saturday.
"Initially, I started off as a bowling all-rounder and I batted lower down the order. But I graduated slowly and steadily into a batting all-rounder. I think it was the turning point of my career," said Mathews.
Mathews, a product of Colombo's prestigious St Joseph's College, said the event this August will be different to the one he played in about eight years ago. "It will be a new experience for the U19 guys as they will be playing on harder and bouncier tracks of Australia as compared to the low and slow tracks of the sub-continent.
"When you come to Australia as an international cricketer, you suddenly find bouncy and seaming conditions and are expected to adapt really quickly. The bounce is very true which is comparatively easy for the batsmen but still they have got to adapt to the conditions quickly. The fast bowlers will always enjoy bowling in Australia because the conditions are such. I think they will enjoy more than the batsmen.
"I think cricketers assembling in Queensland next month should be very excited because they are the best 15 chosen in their age group to represent their countries. They should be willing to grab every opportunity that comes their way.
"The future of cricket lies in the hands of cricketers who'll be appearing in Queensland next month. Whoever has come through the U19s has always done well. Look at Upul Tharanga, Farveez Maharoof and others. All those who have done well at the U19 level, have more often than not gone onto represent their countries at the highest level.
"I think our young side has got tremendous talent and potential. It is just that they need to work harder and try to reach the final somehow. Whenever we get a chance, we try and talk to these players and help them out. So, we always look at the U19s very carefully and always offer our fullest support towards them becoming good players," Mathews concluded.