Lancashire bowling all-rounder George Balderson will lead England's 15-member squad for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 in South Africa.
The 19-year-old recently captained the Young Lions in the Rising Stars Tri-Series in Antigua, where England were defeated by Sri Lanka in the final on Saturday, 21 December. All of the 15-member squad selected for the tournament featured in the tri-series.
Balderson, the captain, led by example and was the second-highest wicket-taker in the series, having picked up 15 wickets in five matches at 10.46.
The squad also features England's leading run-scorer in the series, wicket-keeper Jordan Cox, who accumulated 228 runs in six matches at 45.60, which included a superb unbeaten 105 against Sri Lanka in the final round robin match. Also in the squad is 18-year-old Joey Evison, who recorded the fastest U19 half-century in 18 balls in the same match.
Sri Lanka U19 clinch the West Indies Rising Stars Tri Series in Antigua! 🏆— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) December 22, 2019
Well done guys!#SLU19s beat England U19s by 77 runs.
SL U19s 265/9 (N Paranavithana 108, K Mishara 69)
v ENG U19s 188 (K Nadeeshan 3/43, A Daniel 2/26, S Thilakaratne 2/31, N Paranavithana 2/45) pic.twitter.com/u6ztCPAiTm
Kasey Aldridge, who finished third on the bowling charts in the tri-series with two wickets less than that of Balderson, will also be a part of the team. Dan Mousely and Jack Haynes, who were among the top 10 run-scorers in the tri-series have also been selected.
England U19 head coach Jon Lewis was pleased with the team's performance in the tri-series despite losing in the final and expressed confidence in the youngsters. He believes the team is up for the upcoming world challenge.
"The series in Antigua has shown that our core group of players can perform well in a challenging environment," he said. "Each individual is improving in their specific roles within the side, but in South Africa we’ll need to ensure these roles all come together to produce good team performances.
"I’m excited to see what this squad can do at the World Cup. It will be a great challenge for them both on and off the field, playing in unfamiliar conditions against new opposition in matches that will be televised around the world."
England also played a home tri-series earlier this year, involving Bangladesh and India, which India won by defeating Bangladesh. While England failed to make it to final, Lewis was happy with the individual performances and feels that the Young Lions are capable of facing stronger teams.
"We’ve seen in Antigua, and in our home tri-series this summer against India and Bangladesh, that we can beat some of the best teams in the world. I look forward to seeing how we can take that confidence into the pressurised environment of a World Cup," he added.
Each individual is improving in their specific roles within the side.
England have won the youth world cup only once, under Owais Shah in 1998 when they defeated New Zealand in the final.
England are in the Group B of he 2020 U19 Cricket World Cup with Australia, West Indies and Nigeria and begin their campaign on 20 January 2020 against West Indies in Kimberley.
England U19 squad: George Balderson (c), Kasey Aldridge, Ben Charlesworth, Tom Clark, Jordan Cox, Blake Cullen, Scott Currie, Harry Duke, Joey Evison, Lewis Goldsworthy, Jack Haynes, George Hill, Dan Mousley, Hamidullah Qadri, Sam Young
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