Warwickshire Young Lions Tazeem Ali, Hamza Shaikh and Theo Wylie have been selected in England’s ICC Under-19s World Cup squad.

It’s the first time three players from Warwickshire have been chosen to represent England in cricket’s elite international youth tournament, which starts on 13 January in South Africa.

They form part of a 15-player squad – captained by Durham batter Ben McKinney – which has been drawn in Group B alongside the hosts, West Indies and Scotland. 

Ali, Shaikh and Wylie all impressed as part of an U19’s touring party that faced India A, India B and Bangladesh in an ODI Quadrangular Series on the sub-continent last month.

Warwickshire Head of High Performance Paul Greetham said their inclusion capped a  “breakthrough year” for the teenage trio – and that their performances have rightly been rewarded with World Cup selection. 

“We’re very proud of all three,” he added. “They’ve had breakthrough years in 2023 across club and county cricket. The ECB recognise their potential and we’re equally excited about their futures in the game.

“In recent years, Bears players Dan Mousley and Jacob Bethell have played in the U19’s World Cup and I’d love to see more of our Academy products follow in their footsteps.

“A World Cup is a unique experience. I’m sure the lads will revel in the opportunity to compete against the best young players in the world.

“To have three players included in an England programme is testament to their hard work, but also that of coaching and support staff at Edgbaston and at their respective clubs and schools.”

The 17-year-olds impressed on the India tour, helping England to win three of six games.

Hamza starred with the bat as he amassed 464 runs, including two centuries, and his 126 against Bangladesh U19’s was the highest score of the competition.

Wylie scored 118 runs in total opening the batting and took four wickets bowling left-arm spin, while Taz made three appearances and was also among the wickets.

Greetham also praised the contribution of their league clubs and schools who’ve helped support their development.

He added: “We must recognise the contributions of Smethwick CC and Attock CC (Taz), Knowle & Dorridge CC and Smethwick CC (Hamza) and Shifnal CC and Moddershall & Oulton CC (Theo) in the players’ development. 

“Plus the academic and sporting support from Moseley School (Taz), Eden Boys & Sandwell College (Hamza) and Shrewsbury School (Theo). The school’s and respective staff have been outstanding in terms of timetable flexibility and pastoral support.”

Speaking after the ODI series, First Team Coach Mark Robinson, added: “England have a World Cup after Christmas and they’ll be desperate to produce that kind of form. If Hamza does, he’ll get them somewhere close, but it will be tough when they come to meet India or Australia in the later rounds.

“We have to be guarded about what we do say as they’re young kids. They’re all just 17 years old and I know Hamza has got to come back and catch up with some college work.

“We won’t get too far ahead of ourselves, but we’ll take pleasure in everything they’ve achieved so far.”

The youngsters join a vast list of former and current Bears who have been selected for the tournament.

From within the Academy, Moeen Ali, Shozair Ali, Liam Banks, Tom Banton, Ian Bell, Paul Best, Jacob Bethell, Ateeq Javid, Andrew Miller, Dan Mousley, Nick Warren and Chris Woakes have all took part, while Ed Barnard, Danny Briggs, Alex Davies, George Garton, and Will Rhodes, who captained in 2014, have gained the invaluable experience.

England Men U19s World Cup squad

Ben McKinney (Durham – captain)
Luc Benkenstein (Essex – vice captain)
Farhan Ahmed (Nottinghamshire)
Tazeem Ali (Warwickshire)
Charlie Allison (Essex)
Charlie Barnard (Lancashire)
Jack Carney (Lancashire)
Jaydn Denly (Kent)
Eddie Jack (Hampshire)
Dominic Kelly (Hampshire)
Sebastian Morgan (Middlesex)
Haydon Mustard (Durham)
Hamza Shaikh (Warwickshire)
Noah Thain (Essex)
Theo Wylie (Warwickshire)

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