Bell leads youth brigade into Test battle

To lose your captain (and wicket-keeper) on the eve of an important one-day international series is not exactly ideal preparation, but England Under-19 have had to shrug off the setback.

To lose your captain (and wicket-keeper) on the eve of an important one-day international series is not exactly ideal preparation, but England Under-19 have had to shrug off the setback.

However inauspicious the start of the England Under-19s' summer they have to get on with it, like the budding professionals they all aspire to be. Mark Wallace sustained a broken thumb in a practice match on Wednesday and is expected to be out for at least three weeks, making the Glamorgan youngster at best a doubt for the first Test of the three- match series beginning at Trent Bridge on 15 August.

Wallace, who has been replaced by the Somerset wicketkeeper, Carl Gazzard, with the captaincy passing to the hugely talented batsman Ian Bell, will now be reduced to the role of frustrated spectator instead of leading out the team on his home ground in what is for many young players one of the most critical stages of their burgeoning professional careers.

Since the early 1970s, when the Under-19 level was introduced, an impressive 59 players out of 232 who played in Tests for their age group, have gone on to play Test cricket for the full England side.

With coaches themselves being coached as well, to ensure more consistency in spotting the talent in the first place and then bringing out the best in them, as well as improved techniques and more opportunity for exposure with the Under-19 World Cup and so on, there is no reason why that success rate of 21 per cent should not increase steadily.

All that suggests that Under-19 cricket is crucial in the preparation of future international stars. The coach, Tim Boon, has no doubts about the role Under-19 cricket plays. "At this stage in a young guy's career we look for the necessary attitude, aptitude and athleticism and the flair to go on to succeed at the top level," he explains.

"We are looking at boys who have the basis on which we can build. What we are looking to do here is develop the players, and boys develop at different stages. There are young players who do not make it into this age group and emerge later.

"We work closely with the counties. We only have the boys for a short time, but while they are with us they are exposed to the highest level of the game in that age group. They have an opportunity to match their skills against the best around the world."

Their most recent opportunity was in the World Cup last winter, when they got to the Super League stage before falling disappointingly short of expectations.

For the one-day series against Sri Lanka six changes, for various reasons, have been made to the squad, which certainly shows some imagination, since among the chosen few is a Northamptonshire left-arm spinner with a great future.

Mudhsuden Singh Panesar, mercifully known as Monty, is just 18 and is determined to become a Test cricketer. And an England Test cricketer at that. Monty does not suffer from the clash of cultures that seems to afflict so many young Asians, who are exposed to Western ways at school but return to tradition when they step over the threshold of their home.

"I definitely want to play for England," said Monty. "I was born here, I learned my cricket here. My family are broad-minded, I have been brought up in the Sikh tradition and they know I am not going to forget my roots. I like to have an open mind about these things. I enjoy communicating with other cultures."

If Panesar is anyone to go by then this crop of youngsters should already have adopted a work ethic. In one match for Bedfordshire last season he bowled 61 overs taking three Hertfordshire wickets for 120 runs.

"I bowl as much as I can," he says, gesticulating with his remarkably lengthy fingers. His hands indeed seem to have a life of their own, the long hands seemingly lacing together his words as he speaks. "I do not set myself any number of overs to bowl when I practise, he says. I just bowl as much as I can. I would bowl all day if I could. It is important that I become as fit as I can."

Bell, Panesar's captain, is considered by many to be another tremendous prospect. Today and for the rest of this brief series though, he has the prospect of captaining his country.

Although the responsibility was thrust upon him at the last minute Bell did not seem in the least bit worried. "I am not too bothered by it," he said. "I have captained other sides in the past, so it is not exactly a new experience for me."

He is a sportoholic, having been to Coventry City Football Club's school of excellence before deciding that cricket was where his future lay. He is on Warwickshire's books and any thoughts of further education have been put on hold as he concentrates on making the grade.

He will be leading a team packed with talented players all eager to make their mark. On the batting front, James Dalrymple of Middlesex promises much, while Nicky Peng of Durham has already impressed against Surrey earlier this season when he scored 98.

Michael Carberry is one of two Surrey players in the squad, the other being the pace bowler Tim Murtagh. Carberry is regarded as a another batsman of promise. Murtagh is part of a useful looking attack which also features Kabir Ali, who has had a remarkable impact on Worcestershire's season.

However grim their World Cup might have been there is still the impression that this might be the best crop of Under-19s yet. If so, that figure of 59 is likely to undergo some significant changes in the not too distant future.

England under-19s

SQUAD (One-day series v Sri Lanka)

I Bell (Warwickshire, capt), J E Bishop (Essex), M Carberry, T Murtagh (both Surrey), M Davies, D Harrison (Glamorgan), I Pattison, N Peng, G Pratt (all Durham), J Sadler (Yorkshire), M S Panesar (Northamptonshire), K Ali (Worcestershire), P Trego, C Gazzard (wicketkeeper) (both Somerset), J Dalrymple (Middlesex).

ITINERARY

One-day internationals: Today: at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff; Tomorrow: at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff; Monday, 31 July: Hove (day/night); The first and third one-day internationals are live on Sky television.

Tests* (all matches four days): 15 August: Trent Bridge; 21 August: Northampton; 29 August: Worcester.

*Test squad will be announced at the end of the one-day series.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus updates from Everton vs Palace
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam