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Stars in their eyes, young guns embark on journey of hope - Cricket News
Features and Specials,26 January 2016

Stars in their eyes, young guns embark on journey of hope

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ICC U19 CWC winning captains Geoff Parker and Owais Shah share their memories

So far in the history of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, only eight cricketers have had the honour and privilege of lifting the prestigious trophy.

ICC U19 CWC winning captains Geoff Parker and Owais Shah share their memories - Cricket News
So far in the history of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, only eight cricketers have had the honour and privilege of lifting the prestigious trophy. Geoff Parker of Australia was the first man to put his hands on the glittering trophy and even after 24 years, it remains as one of his proudest moments. 
"I must admit that I don't talk about it a lot. But when people find out and ask about what I did, I always talk with great pride. I always think back with real fondness that I played with and against some wonderful players," recalled 44-year-old Parker who played his 37th and last first-class match in 1999 after making his debut for Victoria against India in 1985.
"My children now are starting to be at the age when they ask questions about my sporting career and I'm very proud to be able to tell them about what I did.
"At the time, you don't really appreciate that side of it. I was only a young man and we were just excited to win the tournament and celebrate that. The event now has a fairly long history and there have been many, many wonderful international cricketers who have come through.
"So, I am proud to have been part of it and proud to be the first one to lift the trophy," said Parker.
Parker captained the Australia side, which also included Stuart Law and Alan Mullally (who later played for England), and defeated Pakistan by five wickets in the final at Adelaide Oval. His side played eight matches in total and lost just one league match against Pakistan by 32 runs. Parker, with the bat, contributed 33 vs West Indies, DNB vs India, one vs Sri Lanka, 48 vs England, 11 vs New Zealand, zero vs Pakistan and 10 vs Pakistan (in final).
Reflecting on the tournament, Parker said: "Our team had played a few games together leading into the tournament. So, we thought we might have had a good side but we didn't know how good the other countries were going to be. As the tournament progressed, we gained confidence in each other and that we could win from any position.
"Being the first person to hold the trophy was a really happy and proud moment."
Owais Shah, who has played six Tests, 71 ODIs and 17 T20Is for England to date since 2001, was the second captain to lift the ICC U19 CWC trophy when he captained England to victory over New Zealand at The Wanderers in 1998.
Shah brought England victory by running a leg-bye off the last ball of the 46th over and returned unbeaten on 54. The other not out batsman was spinner Graeme Swann who smashed three fours and a six in a 13-ball 22 as England achieved the 242-run target with seven wickets and 24 balls to spare after opener Stephen Peters laid the foundation of an easy victory by hitting 107.
Shah, looking back at the tournament and the final, said: "We lost games against Bangladesh and India, teams which perhaps people would have thought that we should have won. But you know the way the tournament worked out, we ended up winning the key matches, including the final.
"England has never won a 50-over World Cup. So, I am really proud that I was lucky enough to captain the team and lift up the trophy in South Africa. The ICC U19 CWC 1998 victory ranks high up there in my career achievements."
Shah said the ICC U19 CWC was an important event and must be taken seriously. "I think if you can inspire young kids to represent their country and play in a prestigious tournament such as the World Cup, I think it has served one of its purposes.
"At the end of the day, all these tournaments are held so that we can find the next superstar playing for their country, be it a Freddie Flintoff for England or a Jacques Kallis of South Africa. I think all these tournaments are there to see what talent is out there and also to see what each country is doing to promote cricket in their age-group level."

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