The ICC Under 19 World Cup is a great opportunity for young players to show their talent. This fast bowler did just that.
Liam Plunkett played for England in the 2004 tournament in Bangladesh, learning a great deal as his side adapted to unfamiliar conditions to reach the semi-finals.
A side containing Alastair Cook, Samit Patel, Luke Wright, Tim Bresnan, Ravi Bopara and Steven Davies beat Nepal and Uganda in the group stage, before wins over New Zealand, Zimbabwe and eventual winners Pakistan carried them to a semi-final against West Indies.
Although they were well-beaten in Dhaka by a Windies side led by 72 from Denesh Ramdin, Plunkett reflects fondly on the experience as a whole.
"It was a stepping stone," he told ICC. "I felt like a professional cricketer. We played against some talented teams who had future international players in and it lead the path for my international career.
"I learnt how to play on different wickets, in a different environment and culture, against different teams and tactics – all that stuff put me in good stead for the future."
Helped by their experiences at the Under 19 World Cup, Plunkett and many of his teammates have gone on to star for England across all three formats, with Cook in particular pushing on to greatness.
While the left-handed opener has become England's leading Test run-scorer, Plunkett has established himself as one of the side's most reliable white-ball bowlers in recent years.
The 32-year-old has taken 96 wickets in 62 ODIs for England at an average of 30.22 and is currently ninth in the ICC ODI bowling rankings.
The ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand gets underway on Saturday 13 January.
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