Tom Straker, Australia’s right-arm pacer, has given a mild caution to India ahead of the 2024 ICC U-19 World Cup final, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 11, at Sahara Park Willowmoore Cricket Stadium in Benoni.
Straker stated that Australia came to win the title amid the excitement of reaching their first Under-19 World Cup final in six years. Notably, he was the Player of the Match in their one-wicket win against Pakistan in the semifinal, picking six wickets for 24.
“Everyone was still so excited. Then we were like ‘we’ve had our fun, but it has to stop now’. We’ve still got a grand final to win. We had a quick conversation about it and just said, ‘we didn’t come here to win the semi-final, we came here to win the final’,” Straker told cricket.com.au.
“We had a TV in our viewing area and the commentators were talking about it, all the boys were loving it, but I was like ‘it’s a good to record to have’ but I wasn’t too fussed about i. It’s a pretty proud moment, but in the scheme of things it doesn’t really matter,” he added.
The 18-year-old’s phenomenal bowling performance almost changed into anguish when he and Mahli Beardman were removed within the space of four balls. It was Callum Vidler and Raf MacMillan who were the final pair to win with 16 runs. He praised Vidler’s batting, stating it’s not bad for a No. 11, and added that they had faith they could cross the line.
“We’re all just looking at each other like, ‘oh no.’ But Vidler’s batting is not the worst for a No.11, so we had faith, and Raf’s batted well for us, he’s saved the day a before, so we were confident. We hit the winning runs and everyone just erupted,” he added.
Staker nicknamed ‘Monster Truck,’ further went on to say that he believes Australia have a promising bowling attack, having scared a few teams in the ongoing competition, and that they will do the same against India.
“We have a pretty good bowling attack. We’ve scared a few teams during this tournament and hopefully we do the same to India in the final. The pitch here is a bit bouncy too. As you’ve seen throughout the tournament, we use our bouncers a lot so that will be part of our game plan. All the boys here, especially Mahli and Vidler, love a bumper … we’re Australian fast bowlers, of course we love a bumper, so I’m sure there will be plenty of those,” the 18-year-old further said.
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