The next generation of New Zealand’s cricketing talent has been selected to contest the ICC Men’s Under-19 Cricket World Cup qualifiers in Darwin in June.
The Darwin tournament represents the East Asia Pacific qualifying route to the next ICC Men’s Under-19 Cricket World Cup, to be hosted by Sri Lanka in 2024.
The 14-strong New Zealand Under 19 squad blends a host of players who represented their Major Associations at the recent National Under 19 tournament in Lincoln, with the next cycle of under 19-aged players coming through the New Zealand Cricket age group system.
Assistant coach Paul Wiseman said a high standard of performances at age group national tournaments guided selection.
“We’ve picked players off the back of performances from the Under 19 and Under 17 national tournaments, and the Under 17 cohort in particular boasted a pretty high standard, so it’s great to see a couple of those young guys get this chance.”
The youngest in the squad are 16-year-olds Tom Jones and Snehith Reddy, who were among the top run-scorers at the Under 17 national tournament.
Reddy was also a top wicket-taker in the tournament, alongside another allrounder, Ollie Tewatiya who also made an impact with the bat and ball.
Three of Wellington Under 19’s National Championship winning side are included: wicketkeeper Alex Thompson and allrounders Ryan Tsourgas and Oscar Jackson.
Alex Thompson played in the National Māori tournament earlier this month representing Te Whanganui-a-Tara and finishing as one of the competition’s top run scorers.
The squad includes Otago leg-spinning allrounder Zac Cumming, son of Craig and brother of Jacob.
The 18-year-old was a standout for Otago at the National Under 19 tournament, finishing as the third-equal top wicket-taker.
The squad also boasts six players who have already made the step up to representative ‘A’ level cricket.
Wiseman said providing high-performance pathway opportunities for talented cricketers was pivotal to player development.
“It’s really important for the guys that are coming through to see a pathway through to domestic level and onto the BLACKCAPS,” said Wiseman.
“Some really talented cricketers missed out on the last World Cup so it’s great to be able to get a young group together again and give them the opportunity at this level.”
New Zealand needs to qualify for the World Cup after opting out of the 2022 tournament to protect the well-being of young players, given the stringent MIQ regulations they would have been required to undergo upon their return.
The squad will join Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu in the qualifying pool, with the top team qualifying for the World Cup.
New Zealand Under 19 Men Squad
Ben Breitmeyer (Canterbury)
Sam Clode (Northern Districts)
Zac Cumming (Otago)
Rahman Hekmat (Auckland)
Oscar Jackson (Wellington)
Tom Jones (Auckland)
Will Julian (Wellington)
Josh Olliver (Auckland)
Cameron Paul (Canterbury)
Snehith Reddy (Northern Districts)
Ewald Schreuder (Northern Districts)
Oliver Tewatiya (Wellington)
Alex Thompson (Wellington)
Ryan Tsourgas (Wellington)
Henry Christie (Wellington)
Mason Clarke (Otago)
Matt Rowe (Central Districts)
Connor Stewart (Canterbury)
*Lachie Stackpole (Auckland) who was initially named in the squad has had to withdraw due to an injury. He has been replaced by Will Julian, and Henry Christie has been named in the non-travelling reserves.
The squad will be led by head coach Jonny Bassett-Graham, with support from Graeme Aldridge (bowling coach) and Paul Wiseman (assistant coach).
New Zealand Under 19 will take part in three training camps at New Zealand Cricket’s High Performance Centre in Lincoln starting tomorrow, before departing for Australia on June 9.
New Zealand U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier Fixtures:
Monday 12 June | New Zealand U19 v Japan
Tuesday 13 June | New Zealand U19 v Vanuatu
Thursday 15 June | New Zealand U19 v Samoa
Friday 16 June | New Zealand U19 v Fiji
Sunday 18 June | New Zealand U19 v Papua New Guinea
Monday 19 June | New Zealand U19 v Indonesia