Japan may not be considered as a cricketing powerhouse and will enter the upcoming ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 as the underdogs. However, head of operations at Japan Cricket (JC) Alan Curr is confident of a spirited show from the team in their maiden appearance at the mega tournament.
Led by Marcus Thurgate, Japan will rub shoulders with India, New Zealand, England and Australia in the tournament, starting January in South Africa.
“People might be surprised that Japan is playing cricket and there might not be a historic culture in the country, but that is not to say we can”t be good at it,” Curr said.
“Eleven of the boys that played in the qualifiers are able to play again in two years, which shows how far we have come. We are two years ahead of what we expected. We are not expecting to knock over India but we are hoping to come away with our reputation as a cricketing nation enhanced,” he added.
Curr also expressed that Japan will aim for playing some good cricket at the World Cup.
“A lot of people have said how great it is but we are not there to make up the numbers. We don””t expect to tear up any trees but if we can bag a win or two then that would be great,” he said.
“If we can maintain the learning curve we are on right now then we will only get better,” Curr added.
Japan is placed in Group A with India, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka. They will begin their tournament campaign against New Zealand on January 18.
The top two teams from each of the four groups will advance to the Super League, while the remaining teams will feature in the Plate Championship.
Japan U19 squad for World Cup: Marcus Thurgate (Captain), Max Clements, Tushar Chaturvedi, Neel Date, Kento Ota-Dobell, Ishaan Fartyal, Sora Ichiki, Leon Mehlig, Masato Morita, Shu Noguchi, Yugandhar Retharekar, Debashish Sahoo, Reiji Suto, Kazumasa Takahashi, Ashley Thurgate.