Australia to open U/19 World Cup title defence

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 20, 2012 08:41 hrs

Dubai, Feb 20 (IBNS) Australia will aim to match Pakistan's achievement when it launches the defence of its ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup title against traditional rival and former champion England at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville on the opening day of the 16-day tournament on Saturday 11 August.

This will be one of the 10 matches from the Tony Ireland Stadium, along with two quarter-finals, two semi-finals and the final on Sunday 26 August, which will be televised live by ESPN Star Sports, ICC's global broadcast partners.

Together with Australia and England, also in action in Townsville on the opening day will be Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea (PNG) who will face each other at Endeavour Park 1, while four Asian rivals will go head to head in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast with Sri Lanka meeting Bangladesh at the Allan Border Field and Pakistan taking on Afghanistan at the John Blanck Oval.

Australia is the most successful team in the history of the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup, having won the title thrice - in 1988, 2002 and 2010. However, Pakistan is the only side which has won back-to-back titles when it won the top laurels in 2004 and 2006 in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, respectively.

With the ninth edition of the tournament taking place in its backyard and the fact that its previous victories came in familiar conditions at home in the inaugural edition in 1988 and New Zealand in 2002 and 2010, it will be a great opportunity for the home side to equal Pakistan's feat.

Apart from Australia, Pakistan and England (1998), India is the other side to have reached the zenith of glory at this level when Mohammad Kaif and Virat Kohli put their hands on the glittering trophy in Sri Lanka and Malaysia in 2000 and 2008, respectively.

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: "We now value the significance of the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup more than before and it is fitting that it returns to the origin of its birth nearly 25 years later as a much bigger tournament.

"In 1988 the event was staged as part of the Australian Bicentenary celebrations and it is now one of our focal tournaments providing the best young cricketers in the world with an opportunity to test their skills.

"Australia will be a testing yet great location for all ambitious cricketers wishing to groom their skills as they look to be world class players by the time of our flagship ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015.

"I am pleased with our broadcast partner who also recognizes the value of this tournament and will televise live no less than 10 matches. In addition to the live coverage, the players will also receive anti-doping, anti-corruption and media education during the event which will allow the young cricketers to prepare themselves for the future."

Queensland Minister for Sport Phil Reeves said the tournament will deliver an economic boost to the State's host communities.

"Hosting the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup 2012 is great news for the Sunshine Coast, Townsville and Brisbane - attracting 400 players and officials from 16 countries with an expected 7,000 bed nights for the local tourism industry," said Reeves.

"To host the event in Queensland for the second time in its 24 year history is a major milestone for cricket in Queensland - celebrating youth cricket and showcasing the State to a worldwide audience.

"It's events like these that further reinforce Queensland's reputation as the Events State, and the Champions State as well."

The ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup 2014 will be staged in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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