COLAC cricketer Meyrick Buchanan says the Australian under 19 side is ready to fire as it attempts to secure World Cup glory.
The Victoria Bushrangers-listed teenager is part of the 15-player Australian squad that will open its cup campaign against England tomorrow.
Buchanan and his teammates landed in Townsville yesterday after playing lead-up matches against Pakistan, West Indies and Scotland.
Australia is the defending under 19 world champion and the 18-year-old said he was confident the side could go back-to-back.
“I suppose you’re on a World Cup stage — the stakes go up a fair bit,” he said.
“Everyone is red hot to give it their best crack. From the warm-up games, the intensity has lifted a bit from the national comps.
“I think we’ve put ourselves in good stead to give the World Cup a red-hot crack.
“We’re training well, the group is gelling well together. It’s looking good.”
Buchanan, an all-rounder, said his form entering the tournament had been “not too bad”, but that he needed to spend more time at the crease.
“We’ve been working a lot on the things we’ve needed to work on,” he said.
“I feel my technique is set down, it’s just getting out there and batting long periods of time.
“That’s my goal at the moment. I’ve been getting a lot of starts lately and that’s where I’m at in my career. I need to push on.”
The under 19 World Cup marks the latest chapter of Buchanan’s rapidly-rising cricket career.
The former City United junior has represented Victoria at under 17 and under 19 level, excelling in Cricket Australia’s pathway program.
He has also represented Australia and his former secondary school, Geelong Grammar, overseas.
Buchanan is also a talented footballer but turned his back on a likely AFL career last November to pursue cricket.
He later signed with the Bushrangers and Big Bash League club Melbourne Renegades.
Australian under 19 coach Stuart Law said Buchanan was “an integral part to our plan”.
“Whether he opens the batting or bats in the middle order, he has to come to terms with hitting the ball on the ground a little more,” he said.
“At the moment he tends to make bad decisions. For his ability, he’s not fulfilling it to his full potential at this stage. He is highly talented.”
Law said Australia could be it’s own worst enemy at the World Cup, as was the case in losses to Pakistan and West Indies leading into the tournament.
“If we don’t adhere to our plans and stick to what we’re good at we can come unstuck,” he said.
“That has been the case in some of the areas, we haven’t performed well, we’ve gone away from our game plan.
“Once you do that it’s very dangerous.
“Having said that there are 15 teams in the competition and there are 10 or 12 genuine contenders.”