A possible ‘trial by spin’ won’t worry the Australian under-16s as they prepare for a six-match tour of Dubai, says skipper Mackenzie Harvey.
Harvey will lead the touring team as they represent their country over the next fortnight in three one-day matches and three Twenty20s against Pakistan’s under-16s at the ICC Academy.
Australia’s struggles against spin in the sub-continent have been well-documented, but the 16-year-old Victorian batsman believes his side is ready to embrace the challenge head-on.
“We’ve been told just to back ourselves,” Harvey said.
“Not to worry about what’s going to happen, just take every ball as it comes and just back ourselves, don’t worry about the pitch too much - we’ll get used to it as the tournament goes on.”
Harvey was among the leading run-scorers at the Under 17 National Championships earlier this season, scoring 285 runs at an average of 57 as captain of the Cricket Australia XI, but missed out on competing at the Under 19 National Championships after being hit by a bouncer at training ahead of the tournament.
“I’m just eager to play again,” he said.
“Missing out on those couple of weeks in the 19s and not being able to train up until a week before today, I’ve just really wanted to get back into it and playing with a great bunch of blokes as well that we had at the under-17s tournament.
“From the training run we had, everyone looks like they’ve been training pretty hard after the 17s. Everyone looks good at the moment.”
Harvey, a classy left-handed top-order player, leads a side with plenty of talent with both bat and ball.
NSW allrounder Ollie Davies impressed at the under-17 championships, scoring 321 runs at 53.50, at a strike-rate of just under a run-per-ball.
His off-spin bowling could also be important in Dubai, alongside fellow off-spinner and NSW product Tyson Lee.
South Australian leg-spinning allrounder Josh Hoffmann featured as a bottom-age player for his state at the under-19 championships last month, with an all-round effort of 79 runs and 4-33 suggesting he will also be a player to watch.
Pakistan took the points last time the two under-16s sides met, claiming wins in four of the six matches in New South Wales.
Harvey knows it won’t be an easy task to win this year’s series - but with new conditions, a new country and a new opposition to face, he can’t wait for the challenge.
“I’m not really sure what to expect over in Dubai, but it should be fun,” he said.
Squad: Liam Scott (NSW), Oliver Davies (NSW), Lawson Eva (NSW), Liam Marshall (NSW), Tyson Lee (NSW), Mackenzie Harvey (VIC, c), Zane Keighran (VIC), Connor Smith (WA), Jordan Clark (WA), Damien Burrage (WA), Connor Sully (QLD), Josh Hoffmann (SA), Angus Judd (SA). Coach: Gavan Twining. Assistant Coach: Stuart Law.
Matches (all at ICC Academy in Dubai)
January 9 - 1st One-Day Match
January 11 - 2nd One-Day Match
January 13 - 3rd One-Day Match
January 15 - 1st T20 Match
January 16 - 2nd T20 Match
January 18 - 3rd T20 Match