Bangalore, Jul 31: Australia opener David Warner has advised all the teenagers assembling in Queensland next month for the ninth edition of the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2012 to make optimum use of the opportunity without compromising on the honour and respect they will be earning by representing their countries in a global event.
Warner, who played in the U-19 World Cup 2006 in Sri Lanka and scored 91 runs at 30.33, said, in an ICC media release: "You know, it's all about playing and winning, but a lot of it is the respect.
"You just need to respect the badge that's on your head and that's over your heart. You've got to wear it with pride. The respect you have for where you are, where you've come from, and who you're representing."
Along with ICC's 10 Full members, the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012, being supported by Events Queensland, will see six qualifiers - Afghanistan, Ireland, Namibia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Scotland - taking part in Brisbane, Townsville and the Sunshine Coast from August 11 to 26.
Reflecting on his experience of playing at the ICC U19 CWC 2006, Warner said: "Obviously, it was a thrill for me to play for Australia and represent Australia at a young level in the ICC U19 CWC.
"I learnt a lot back then, stuff that I wouldn't have known otherwise. The ICC U19 CWC is a finishing school for elite young cricketers coming through the ranks. If I knew then what I know now, then probably it would have helped even more.
"When I started back then, I think cricket was unbelievable. It was played at a level that I never would have thought cricket would have been at. I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing back then, and it made me more determined to play for Australia at the highest level."
Warner said the U-19 World Cup 2006 helped him re-organise his game and helped him become a better and more mature cricketer. "It's funny, I batted in the middle-order back then, and now I am opening the batting. I can see where I have come from in respect to changing my game to be the best I can," he said, adding: "Everyone's got to start somewhere, and for me it was batting in the middle-order and bowling a little bit of leg spin.
"As a player, I think I've matured into a better person and a better team player - not saying that I wasn't a good team player, but you learn how to actually play the game as an individual and as a team player. I also think you become more knowledgeable about the game."
Warner said players appearing in Queensland next month must back themselves to return to Australia for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. "I think each individual who will be appearing in the ICC U19 CWC 2012 needs to have goals of returning here for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 because if you are good enough to be where you are today, you have to be good enough to be in that squad and that environment in 2015.
"So if they keep backing themselves, scoring runs, taking wickets, et cetera, they could have a good ride in."