West Indies and Australia will get things going in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence from 9:00h local time today, Friday January 14.
In the other match, Sri Lanka will take on Scotland at Everest Cricket Club.
Speaking to the media on the eve of the match, West Indies captain Ackeem Auguste said he is hoping his team learns from the mistakes made in the two warm-up defeats to India and South Africa.
“There is a lot to improve on. We have seen the results, and we just try to take as much from these warm-up games as possible. Going into the games, we are looking to put in good all-round performances, and from there we take it,” the skipper said.
This will be West Indies 14th appearance at the Under-19 World Cup. With the tournament being played in the Caribbean, hosts West Indies would be looking to follow in the footsteps of the 2016 side that went all the way and won the title.
West Indies’ opposition, Australia, are no pushovers. Only India have won the ICC U19 Men’s CWC more times than Australia’s three titles, with Australia also second in terms of matches won and win percentage.
In fact, in 12 previous appearances, Australia have made it through to at least the semi-finals on eight occasions, and are remarkably consistent. The last win came back in 2010, a team featuring Mitchell Marsh, Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood, who 11 years later would play key roles as Australia claimed the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.
This time around, all-rounder Cooper Connolly would lead the side, and he would have fond memories of taking on the host nation. In 2020, he hammered 64 off 53 balls against the West Indies in a play-off match that was eventually abandoned due to rain.
Connolly is the only player who returns from the 2020 squad, but will not lack support, notably from ambidextrous spinner Nivethan Radhakrishnan.
Robust protocols in place for U-19 World Cup
According to ICC Head of Integrity, Alex Marshall, robust protocols are in place for the matches. He said: “The ICC has planned a robust and proportionate biosafety plan for the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2022, in partnership with Cricket West Indies and the four host country governments, in line with global sports body best practice.
“We want the focus to be on the cricket, and to ensure that it is played in a safe environment, where players enjoy what for most of them is their first World Cup experience.
“We are fully expecting a number of positive tests with regular testing of all participants, and that will be managed according to our biosafety plan and under the guidance of BSAG. Merely registering a positive PCR test result within a team will not result in the automatic postponement or cancelation of fixtures. The main principle is to continue playing with appropriate mitigations in place if it is safe, practicable, and proportionate to do so.
“Thanks to our hosts and the teams for their commitment to delivering a safe World Cup,” Marshall added. Isai Thorne and Matthew Nandu are the two Guyanese players in the West Indies team.