ICC Under-19 World Cup 2010 January 7, 2010

Greg Chappell backs U-19 side to make semis

Cricinfo staff

Greg Chappell, the chairman of Cricket Australia's youth selectors, is confident that the Australian team will reach the semi-finals of the U-19 World Cup. Chappell believes that the tournament should be seen as a means to develop cricketers for the senior team in the future, rather than as a destination.

"We perhaps could have picked some more experienced players that might have given us a better chance to win the World Cup, but not necessarily to develop Australian players for the future. It's a balancing act, but always the view has got to be of the bigger picture," Chappell told AAP.

"History tells you, if you make junior cricket a destination then it won't produce many senior players."

Australia have won the event twice, including in 2002 when it was held in New Zealand, and have qualified for the semi-finals in every edition barring 2008. Chappell gave insights into the kind of talent Australia looked to blood in a tournament where teams from India and Pakistan have traditionally done well.

"The important thing from a youth selection point of view is that we are picking players who have the potential to go further. They're on the rise rather than at their peak.

"It's important for us to be competitive and our objective should always be to get to the semi-finals, but if we made [winning the tournament] a priority it would slow down our success."

In terms of making the transition from Under-19 to the senior level, Australia's cricketers have done very well. Most notably, all but one member from the 2000 Under-19 squad went on to play first-class cricket, while six of them have played international cricket.

Four of those - Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson and Nathan Hauritz - are now regulars in the Test side. Shaun Marsh has represented Australia in ODIs while Andrew McDonald earned a baggy green last year.

Chappell believes that the success of the 2010 side should not be evaluated at the end of the tournament, and will depend on how the players develop in four to five years time. "This is part of the journey, it's not a destination."