Australia name U-19 World Cup squad
The New South Wales batsman Kurtis Patterson is one of three players with senior state cricket experience named in Australia's squad for the Under-19 World Cup. However, the Australians have not yet named a captain for the tournament, which will be held in Queensland in August and at which they will be the defending champions after Mitchell Marsh led his side to the title in New Zealand two years ago.
Patterson, who scored 157 in his Sheffield Shield debut last summer, will be joined in the 15-man squad by the batsman Travis Head, who made a promising start to his career for South Australia last season, and Cameron Bancroft, who has played for Western Australia. The batsman Meyrick Buchanan, who played on game for the Melbourne Renegades in the inaugural Big Bash League, has also been included.
"Overall, I think we've got a squad that's pretty well balanced with good batting depth, a variety of bowling options which includes good pace bowlers and a couple of excellent developing spinners," Greg Chappell, Cricket Australia's national talent manager, said. "Playing at home in Queensland will always place more of a spotlight and expectation on this team to do well in front of a home crowd and in familiar conditions, but we know this is going to be a fierce challenge against quality opposition.
"We played Pakistan in the 2010 final in Christchurch and two years before that India won the title so we know the subcontinent teams are always very strong and that is no different whether we play them away or at home. We also saw a very good West Indies outfit last year in Dubai and in the quad series this year we saw first-hand an attacking England outfit and a talented New Zealand line-up, along with the Indian side.
"There is no doubt this is going to be huge challenge for our team but we've had some very good preparation and we'll continue that right up to the World Cup by playing Pakistan on the Gold Coast later this month."
The side will be coached by Stuart Law, as part of his new role as high performance coach at the Centre of Excellence. Law said he was looking forward to steering Australia's young cricketers through a challenging tournament.
"The ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup is the pinnacle for players at this age level," Law said. "You only have to look back at the last couple of tournaments to see the quick progress some players have made. India's 2008 captain Virat Kohli is now established at international level, while we've seen 2010 Australian representatives Mitch Marsh and Josh Hazlewood quickly advance to an opportunity within the Australian team in limited-overs cricket.
"There's no bigger challenge than playing against the best players from around the world and the Under-19 World Cup provides that opportunity for players of this age. We know it's going to be challenge and playing at home only lifts that expectation but we're certainly looking forward to the tournament."
Prior to the World Cup, Australia will play a three-match series against Pakistan on the Gold Coast, in preparation for their title defence. The squad for that series will include the 15 men named for the World Cup, along with extra players Sebastian Gotch, Joshua McClelland and Alex Gregory.
Under-19 World Cup squad Ashton Agar (Vic), Cameron Bancroft (WA), William Bosisto (WA), Meyrick Buchanan (Vic), Harry Conway (NSW), Sam Hain (Qld), Travis Head (SA), Joel Paris (WA), Kurtis Patterson (NSW), James Peirson (Qld), Gurinder Sandhu (NSW), Mark Steketee (Qld), Nicholas Stevens (Qld), Ashton Turner (WA), Jack Wildermuth (Qld).