Start crucial for Under-19s - Boon
Coach Tim Boon has underlined the importance of England Under-19s hitting their straps from the word go when the one-day international series against Sri Lanka gets under way tomorrow.
England have enjoyed a highly-impressive trip thus far, earning a creditable 0-0 draw in the two-Test series courtesy of an excellent batting rearguard in the second match at Colombo.
There have been a string of impressive individual performances to sit alongside an excellent team effort with Sam Wood, who followed up a brilliant century with a second-innings 95 in the second Test, and off-spinner Jack Parsons excelling.
With those players being joined by the likes of batsman Jack Sheppard and seamer Matthew Dunn for the one-day leg of the tour, Parsons is backing his troops to continue their fine work.
“Coming into the tour with limited practice, I think we did pretty well in the Test matches given that we came from sub-zero temperatures in England to monsoon conditions in Colombo,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“We showed a lot of character and resilience in the second match to get a draw. There is very little turnaround time in preparing for the one-day series and we have some new players coming in.
“There is a slight difference in the squad, but we go into the series with great optimism.
“We need to set the tone from the start tomorrow, whether it’s batting or bowling, and get off to a good start by playing positively.
“Our fielding is something we have worked hard at as well, as it’s something we need to improve in the squad and that should also stand us in good stead.”
Boon’s desire to start the series well is undoubtedly something he will be drumming into his players ahead of an opener which he believes will go a long way to deciding the outcome of the five-match rubber.
“The first game is always an indicator of how things will fare,” he said. “Sri Lanka will obviously play to their strengths and we know they have a lot of talent, particularly in their batting.
“We will have to be at the very top of our game in order to win, but there is no reason why we can’t do it - we have had excellent practice facilities and are acclimatising well to local conditions.
“One-day cricket is very black and white - it’s about winning moments in the game and we’ve had some good preparation.
“We’re ready to go tomorrow and are looking forward to the challenge.”
Should England overcome the odds and win the series, Boon believes his players can look back on a job very well done.
“To win the series would be a considerable achievement,” he added. “But I believe we are capable of doing that - we have young players who are emerging and it would mean an awful lot to win.”