Finch relishing World Cup chance

Harry Finch is part of England's squad for the 2014 ICC Under-19 World Cup in the UAE next month. Picture courtesy Sussex CCC
Harry Finch is part of England's squad for the 2014 ICC Under-19 World Cup in the UAE next month. Picture courtesy Sussex CCC

Harry Finch says being selected to play in the 2014 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup is up there with the highlights of his career.

The Hastings Priory starlet was part of a 15-man England squad announced on Monday which will take part in the global competition in the United Arab Emirates next month.

Finch said: “I’m absolutely buzzing; that’s all I can say really. It will be up there with my career highlights; probably on a par with my first class debut (for Sussex in a County Championship match against Durham last summer).

“I was quietly confident, but I was a little bit nervous when I woke up on Saturday morning. I wanted the phone call to come as quickly as possible and thankfully I got it relatively early.”

Finch is the sole Sussex player in an England squad which will begin its group D programme against the host nation in Abu Dhabi on February 14. England will then face Sri Lanka two days later and New Zealand on February 18, both in Dubai.

The top two teams in the group will advance to the quarter-finals on February 22. The 16-nation tournament involves the 10 Test playing countries, hosts UAE and five regional qualifiers, one of whom is Scotland.

“The main aim is to try and win it, but you’ve got to take it step by step,” continued Finch. “Try and finish top two in the group first of all, and once it gets past the group, you never know. It’s hard to stop a team that gets on a roll.”

England, who also have warm-up games arranged against Scotland and Bangladesh, gained some valuable experience of conditions in the gulf by contesting a triangular tournament against the UAE and Pakistan in December.

“You can’t ask for better preparation than going to the place where the World Cup’s actually going to be,” Finch went on. “We’ve learnt a lot from it, and although India and Pakistan will be favourites because it’s their own conditions, we will be quietly confident we can cause a few upsets.”

The son of former Priory captain Jason Finch, Harry started playing cricket at a very young age and was turning out for Priory’s colt teams when just eight.

The 18-year-old was part of the Sussex CCC youth set-up from under-10s right through to under-16s/17s before moving on to second team cricket and being awarded a professional contract.

St Leonards-based Finch, a top order batsman and handy seam bowler, got called into the England under-19s set-up in September 2012 and made his international debut in South Africa last winter.