Coach sees first-class talent in Under-19s
Mark Robinson, the outgoing England Under-19 coach, is confident his young side can develop their game in first-class cricket this summer, following their inconsistent World Cup campaign.
Robinson will return to his normal position as coach of Sussex and expects to come up against the players he worked with as the season progresses. England topped their group after beating defending champions India but were knocked out in the quarter-finals by West Indies. Things got worse when they were defeated by India in a fifth-place play-off semi final and New Zealand in the seventh-place play-off.
Despite the results, Robinson identified batsman James Vince, who played nine first-class games and averaged 51.40 from six 50-over games for Hampshire in 2009, along with captain Azeem Rafiq, who has made a handful of appearances for Yorkshire, left-arm seamer David Payne and Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes as the players particularly ready for the rigours of the first-class game.
"Obviously Vince is quite experienced," Robinson told ecb.co.uk. "But he's somebody who would look to get more opportunities on the back of what happened to him last summer and the experience of being abroad.
"Rafiq is an outstanding captain and led the team really, really well and is a fierce competitor. He needs more exposure in an ideal world to first-team cricket now. Payne was the most consistent bowler throughout the tournament on the English team and again I'd expect him to get exposure in the first team. Stokes' batting was exciting as an all-rounder."
Robinson insisted his side would hope to beat West Indies "nine times out of 10", but felt hosts New Zealand were physically stronger than his side. It was an aspect Robinson noted about a few of the Southern Hemisphere sides.
"The South African team to look at - we didn't play against them - and the New Zealand team we did play against were physically stronger than us, physically more developed, and looked a more powerful team. It was the same with all the teams, they've got a group of 18-19-year-olds, you have players of different maturity both experience-wise and also physically.
"We probably looked a little bit inferior physically to the Southern Hemisphere. I think that's because the rugby side of the game, which they play as their winter sport."