New Zealand U-19s look to emulate seniors

New Zealand Under-19 captain Josh Finnie has said his team will try to emulate the senior team’s style of play © ICC

New Zealand’s Under-19s will look to emulate the adventurous style of the country’s senior team, their captain Josh Finnie has said.

“We are trying to base our strategy at the way they go about it,” Finnie said. “The [2015] World Cup brought a pretty good feel to playing cricket in New Zealand. It wasn’t really recognised as a major sport there for a while but over the past year or so it has really captivated the nation. We are looking to do what they did.”

Finnie said New Zealand’s preparation for the Under-19 World Cup had been boosted by the time the team spent in Dubai, where they took part in a tri-nation tournament that also featured the Under-19 sides from Pakistan and Australia. He said the highlight of that competition for New Zealand was the century scored by Christian Leopard in the final match, which Pakistan won by 31 runs. Leopard walked in with New Zealand 67 for 5 chasing 280, and smashed 116 off 71 balls.

“We have just been in Dubai and found out how we are not too fazed with batting on those wickets,” Finnie said. “We faced a lot of spin there.

“It was pretty special watching that [innings] from the sidelines. We were in the dumps there with five or six down and thought the day might be over early but he just played his natural game.”

With Australia pulling out of the Under-19 World Cup due to security concerns, Ireland have been drafted into the tournament. Finnie said New Zealand – who are in Ireland’s group – would treat them with respect.

“Obviously we are not too sure what Ireland are like,” he said. “We have to treat them same as anyone else coming into the game by thinking they will be like any big name.”

Seated next to Finnie at the press conference, Ireland captain Jack Tector narrated how his team got to know about their unexpected entry into the World Cup.

“It has obviously been quite a manic few weeks,” Tector said. “Basically on Christmas day an article came out from an Australian journalist and we saw that Australia were considering pulling out. And then ten days after that, we got an email from Cricket Ireland asking for our availability when it was confirmed that Australia had pulled out. We had to get out our schools and universities, but had no problem there, and five days later we are in Dubai. It has been quite an exciting few weeks.”

When asked how Ireland’s Under-19s would cope with the unique challenge of playing in front of a live TV audience, against India, Tector said they would want to make a day of it.

“We haven’t talked that much about this but it will be quite nerve-wracking on the day,” he said. “But to play on television we have to make the most of it. We have to play a good game against India but it is a massive opportunity to represent Ireland and hopefully the country will be watching us.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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