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Two-time champions Pakistan and defending champions West Indies in action on opening day of ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup

Two-times champions Pakistan and defending champions the West Indies are among teams in action on opening day as the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup kicks off tomorrow in New Zealand.

The best of the next generation will be on view over the next 22 days with the West Indies facing New Zealand in a day-night fixture in Tauranga while Pakistan take on Afghanistan in Whangarei. 

In other matches on the opening day Bangladesh take on Namibia and Papua New Guinea play Zimbabwe, both in Christchurch.

Australia coach Ryan Harris is confident his side can compete with the very best.

“I think we’ve got a really well-balanced squad that can compete in these conditions and compete against some good opposition," Harris said.

"First and foremost, we want to win our group games - that’s one of the main things - but we want to make sure these guys are learning too.

“Ultimately winning is what we want to do, but we’ve got to make sure we keep improving and learning about the game and all that goes with it, playing against good players, playing in tournament-play and being away from home.”

England coach Jon Lewis is looking for his players to gel as a team and therefore pull off a few shocks: “There’s a transient nature to Under-19 cricket and teams change all the time so I tend to focus more on us, and getting our team playing well," he said.

"If we can do that I think we can compete. 

"I think we’ll have to play at our best to win the tournament – I don’t think we’re a team full of superstar players but if we can play well as a team, and play together, then I feel we can compete with anyone.

“I think it’s a very well balanced squad."

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Cricketwindies is the leading voice for Caribbean and International cricket news, information and opinion. We’re a community of cricket fans who follow all cricket. In other words, a bunch of high-strung, fanatical cricket enthusiasts who have far too much time on their hands.

For many years the West Indies team ruled the cricket world, playing undefeated in a Test series for over 15 years. Recently the West Indies team has suffered several losses but with the emergence of new high-calibre players the future for the West Indies cricket team looks very good!

West Indians are passionate about their cricket, quick to cheer when the team performs well but also quick to criticize a poor performance. Thousands of West Indians always turn out to watch their team play .... and hopefully win!

Cricket is seen as a unifying force in the West Indies, bringing together players (and supporters) from across the region. This gentleman's game has brought considerable exposure to the islands of the Caribbean, with the West Indian cricketers being remembered not only for their incredible talent and skills but also for their deportment and sense of fair play.

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