Wakely to lead England Under-19 at World Cup
Alex Wakely will lead England Under-19 at their World Cup campaign in February. Northamptonshire's Wakely takes the reins for the first time, with Rory Hamilton-Brown now too old, and he will captain a 14-man squad, nine of whom have first-class experience.
Billy Godleman had a particularly good 2007, with his maiden first-class century for Middlesex this season and 149 from 150 balls to help England Under-19 beat the touring Pakistan Under-19 side at Leicester. The World Cup holders Pakistan, though, won the one-dayers 3-1.
England will have a tough tournament on their hands, but their manager John Abrahams is confident, explaining: "We have selected a strong squad that has a lot of experience of playing international Under-19 cricket. Indeed, many of the players have already had the opportunity to play cricket in Malaysia during an England Under-19s tour earlier in the year."
The side reached the semi-finals of the last competition in Sri Lanka last year, where they fell away to India in a humiliating 234-run defeat. They are, at least, being realistic about their chances this time, as their coach Andy Pick noted: "If they continue to show the same level of commitment that they demonstrated during the summer then they will have a good chance of progressing into the latter stages of this tournament. We will be working very hard over the next four months."
Wakely said of being captain: "I am honoured to be given the opportunity. As a group of players we have got to know each other well over the past year and if we continue to work hard as a team then I believe we have an excellent chance of winning the World Cup."
Sixteen nations will compete in an initial group stage where participating teams are split into four groups of four. Each side will play against the other three teams in their group with the top two from each of the four groups progressing to the sudden death Super League quarter-final matches. The winning teams from the Super League will progress to the semi-finals and the subsequent winners to the finals.
The bottom two sides from each of the initial four groups will play in a sudden-death plate competition which will follow the same format as the Super League.
Squad Alex Wakely (capt), Ben Brown (wk), Liam Dawson, Steven Finn, Billy Godleman, James Harris, James Lee, Stuart Meaker, Sam Northeast, Daniel Redfern, James Taylor, Tom Westley, Chris Woakes, Greg Wood (wk).