Warwickshire batsman Liam Banks showed good form straight away with a fluent 33 in England Under 19s first World Cup warm-up match in New Zealand, against Ireland at Hagley Park, Christchurch.
England beat Ireland by 125 runs after piling up 372 for eight to which Academy graduate Banks, batting at five, contributed 33 from 44 balls having reached the crease in the 32nd over.
For the Staffordshire-born 18-year-old, and the team, it was a highly promising warm-up ahead of the World Cup campaign which they will begin against Namibia next Monday before other group games pit them against Bangladesh on January 18th and Canada on January 20th.
We have come into this tournament really well prepped and fresh from a brilliant tri-series in South Africa and the lads are buzzing.Liam Banks
And Banks is thoroughly relishing his first visit to New Zealand and being part of a World Cup squad.
“It’s a great experience,” he said. “We have come into this tournament really well prepped and fresh from a brilliant tri-series in South Africa and the lads are buzzing.
“We couldn’t have asked for more from the first warm-up game. At no stage in the game were we struggling and it was a really good, solid performance. Conditions were quite similar to what we are used to in England so were not alien. I was happy with the way I batted. It was a little bit different for me going in at number five but we just wanted to try a few things with the batting order and make sure everybody got a chance.
“We are really looking forward to the next warm-up against Sri Lanka because we have never played them before. Then we travel to Queenstown on Friday ready for the first group game so it will be full on from there. I can’t wait.”
Banks is not the only Bear around the squad – Jonathan Trott is England batting coach for the tournament and Banks says his Warwickshire colleague has been kept very busy.
“It’s fantastic to have Trotty out there,” he said. “He has so much experience from playing at the top level and winning at the top level so he has all that knowledge to pass on. The lads have been queuing up to pick his brains.”