Having the opportunity to represent your country on the world stage is a huge honour.
And following this year’s Under 19 National Championships, a team of Australia’s best and brightest young male cricketers will get that chance.
The 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup is only one month away, being played in New Zealand from January 13 to February 3, with Australia out to win the title for the first time since 2010.
That victorious team featured a host of current national and domestic stars.
Mitchell Marsh captained the side to World Cup triumph, with current stars Josh Hazlewood, Nic Maddinson, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson among the Aussie young guns at his disposal in New Zealand that year.
“I have great memories of captaining at the 2010 World Cup, we had an amazing team,” Marsh said.
“I think overall our camaraderie was the one thing that really stood out for me with that team.”
Marsh’s side kicked off the tournament with big wins against the United States of America and Ireland, before a narrow loss to South Africa in their third group game.
A quarter-final against hosts New Zealand finished in a 62-run win for Australia, as Marsh passed 50 with the bat, followed by a hard-fought two-wicket semi-final win against Sri Lanka.
Marsh (92) again starred with the bat, as Hazlewood claimed four wickets.
Hazlewood repeated his heroics in the final, claiming 4-30 in a player of the match performance, while Richardson provided a run-a-ball 44 in the lower order - helping Australia dismiss Pakistan for 182 in response to 9-207.
“My memories of the Under 19 World Cup Final (in 2010) are that it was a pretty special time,” Hazlewood said.
“We had a good group of guys, a lot of those guys have gone on to play first-class cricket and for Australia as well - Mitch Marsh, Nic Maddinson, those sort of guys.
“It’s that first senior tournament you play. You grow up playing with these guys in the underage groups and to play that World Cup final was pretty special.”
In total, Australia has won the tournament three times - in 1988, 2002 and 2010 - while plenty of past and present stars have had a taste of under-19 level cricket for Australia.
A star-studded 2006 side was captained by Moises Henriques, and featured current Australian vice-captain David Warner, plus a host of players to have since played international cricket including Matthew Wade, Usman Khawaja, Aaron Finch and Jackson Bird.
Australian captain Steve Smith was a member of the 2008 line-up, alongside the likes of Hazlewood, James Pattinson and James Faulkner.