Under-19s leave for World Cup
England captains Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad joined team director Andy Flower in passing on some advice to the England Under-19s as the youngsters headed to Australia for World Cup duty.
The young Lions begin their U19 World Cup campaign on August 11 when they take on hosts Australia before meeting Ireland and Nepal in their remaining group games.
Test skipper Strauss said the team will have to be strong mentally if they are to realise their dream of lifting the trophy.
“I think the most important thing is to be prepared,” Strauss told ecb.co.uk.
“I’m sure the coaches will do a really good job in making sure they are prepared technically and physically, but more important for me is about mentally preparing yourself for what’s ahead.”
His opening partner, Cook, thought the next few weeks would be an invaluable learning experience for the young players.
“I remember in 2004 I was really excited to captain England in the World Cup,” said the Essex and England opener, who played in 10 one-dayers as an U19.
“To me it was a great chance to see where I was against other people of my age group around the world. It was a great learning curve for me.
“It was a great opportunity to see what a World Cup was all about. We got to the semi-finals, we played really good cricket but didn’t quite perform at our best.”
Broad, who played three one-dayers for England U19s in 2005, said there is plenty of ability in the current squad, which is led by Kent all-rounder Adam Ball.
Broad had the opportunity to see the players first-hand at a training camp in South Africa last December and his findings were encouraging.
“There’s a huge amount of talent there,” said Broad.
“The things that impressed me in Potchefstroom was the work-rate and how keen they were to learn. There were a lot of questions being asked about what it was like to play for England and what they need to do to get to that level.
“They’ve got a very good manager and coach there in Tim Boon, who was my first coach at Leicestershire, and I’m sure he’ll prepare them in a fantastic way to go and win in Australia.
“That’s what World Cups are about. Of course you are there to learn, but you are there to win.”
The final word was left to Flower, who encouraged the team to be positive in their goal of winning the tournament.
“They have a really exciting opportunity for them as young men but also the opportunity to win and they must go out there with the intent to win the tournament,” he said.
“They have to show a lot of self-belief and real intent to do so. They are going do that by keeping things simple and making sure they do the simple things really well.”