y 13 June 1999
THEY WERE rightly hailed as heroes 16 months ago. They were determined, they were bold, they were lucky. It was a combination which enabled England Under-19s to become the only (male) cricket team from this country to win a World Cup. It was natural to hope that they would all swiftly mature into adult players of similar achievement, obvious that they would not, at least in every case, and pertinent to muse on their progress in the days following England's elimination from the World Cup proper. Not surprisingly, their fortunes have been mixed since the moment of their high achievement in Johannesburg on 1 February, 1998, when they beat New Zealand by seven wickets. If none has quite yet trained on, it is also important to remember that the oldest of them will not be 21 until September. In batting order this is their story so far:
Stephen Peters (Essex, 21). The hero of South Africa with match-winning innings in both the last, key group match and the final of 51 and 107, respectively, he is out of the Essex side at present. Played most matches last summer, averaging 23, made one influential contribution in the Benson & Hedges Cup, but has appeared only once in the Championship this season even with first XI places available. Robert Key (Kent, 20). A hard hitter and attractive strokeplayer with a tendency to overweight, Kent are backing his undoubted gifts. He made two hundreds for them last summer, went on the England A tour and, although he has made a moderate start on the moderate pitches of this summer with a top Championship score of 86, good judges like him. Paul Franks (Nottingham-shire, 20). Took on an all-rounder's role in the World Cup and was an exemplar in a poor Notts side. Kept improving his career-best bowling figures, is accruing steady returns this season and if he might be short of pace he is already a key member of the county side and a wholehearted player. Owais Shah (Middlesex, 20): A teenage prodigy, captain of the World Cup...
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