Cooper Connolly appointed Australia captain for Under-19 World Cup


Sydney, Jan 2 : Cricket Australia (CA) on Sunday appointed all-rounder Cooper Connolly as captain for the ICC Under-19 men's Cricket World Cup 2022, scheduled to commence in the West Indies from January 14. Connolly was also part of Australia's previous campaign in 2020, playing as a 16-year-old in South Africa. He played two matches in the previous tournament and slammed 64 off 53 balls against the West Indies in Benoni. Australia last won the tournament in 2010, where players such as Nic Maddinson, Kane Richardson and Josh Hazlewood -- who have now made the senior team -- defeated Pakistan under the captaincy of Mitchell Marsh. Connolly said he wants to follow in the footsteps of the fellow Western Australian in claiming the country's fourth U19 title. "It is a huge honour to be named captain of Australia for the Under 19 World Cup, I'm incredibly thankful for the opportunity to lead our team," he was quoted as saying by on Sunday. "We are fortunate to have strong leaders in our group, and I know I have fantastic support around me. I'm thrilled to be playing for Australia again, the World Cup is the ultimate under-age carnival and as a squad we are excited to embrace the opportunity that's in front of us," added Connolly. Australian coach Anthony Clark was all praise for Connolly, saying that he has "unanimous" support from the squad. "Cooper will captain our squad and has unanimous support from our group, but there will certainly be opportunities for all players to develop leadership qualities," said Clark. "He has already displayed his ability on the world stage and we're excited for what he can bring to the group both on and off the field at this year's tournament. "Cooper is a wonderful talent and a strong character who has thoroughly earned the opportunity to lead his country at the World Cup." The Australian team is en route to Guyana, ahead of their campaign that begins on January 14. The squad will self-quarantine for three days upon arrival, before playing practice matches against South Africa and India. Australia face the West Indies at Providence Stadium in their opening fixture. Australia have also included the only known ambidextrous cricketer in the country's junior talent supply line Nivethan Radhakrishnan, who was a Delhi Capitals net bowler during the first phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season. The 19-year-old Radhakrishnan, whose family migrated to Sydney from India in 2013, had rubbed shoulders with the likes of Ricky Ponting, Steve Smith and several top Indian cricketers during his IPL stint. He was offered a rookie contract by both NSW and Tasmania this season, but he decided to join the latter. Radhakrishnan has previously represented Australia at the U-16 level. It was Radhakrishnan's father who encouraged him to try bowling finger spin with both hands. /IANS


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