England won the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in 1998 with a team that included one of the national team’s current star players, Graeme Swann. Unfortunately, its last appearance at the event was one of its worst, with England U19s finishing 8th in 2010 after losing a nail-biting play-off against the host team New Zealand by two wickets, with only two balls remaining.
England U19s has not enjoyed a great lead up to the 2012 event. In early 2011, the team lost a five-game series against Sri Lanka 3-1, and then lost a rain-affected ODI series against South Africa U19s on home soil 2-4. The team went on to lose 5-2 in the ODI series against Bangladesh U19s, and then traveled to Australia for a Quadrangular series against Australia, New Zealand and India. After winning against all three teams, England U19s lost the semi-final to eventual winner India. England U19s won the 3rd place play-off against New Zealand after an unbeaten 105 from wicketkeeper Ben Foakes and three wicket hauls from Mohammad Abid and Brett Hutton.
Skippered by Adam Ball, who has already played first-class matches for English county side Kent, England will be looking to progress through the group stage comfortably. The team has an unbeaten record against both Nepal and Ireland in the tournament, and will be feeling confident after its recent success against Australia.
The team need look no further for inspiration than stars of international cricket Graeme Swann, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Alastair Cook, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel and Jonathan Trott, who have all competed in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup and gone on to make it to the top of international cricket.