There are many things that the Asian country of Japan is famous for. Cricket, obviously, is not one of them. It is for this very reason that when Japan take the field for the Under 19 Cricket World Cup a bit later this month, they will be the underdogs.

However, the head of Operations at Japan Cricket (JC), Alan Curr is confident that his country will put up a fight in their maiden appearance at the coveted tournament.

Led by skipper Marcus Thurgate, Japan will feature in the tournament along with cricketing giants like India, New Zealand, England and Australia in the tournament. The tournament is scheduled to commence from 17 January in South Africa.

“People might be surprised that Japan is playing cricket and there might not be a historic culture in the country, but that is not to say we can’t be good at it,” Curr said as quoted by IANS.

“Eleven of the boys that played in the qualifiers are able to play again in two years, which shows how far we have come. We are two years ahead of what we expected. We are not expecting to knock over India but we are hoping to come away with our reputation as a cricketing nation enhanced,” he added.

Curr went on to elaborate that Japan will be eyeing to play some good level of cricket at the World Cup despite being a relatively inexperienced unit.

“A lot of people have said how great it is but we are not there to make up the numbers. We don’t expect to tear up any trees but if we can bag a win or two then that would be great,” he said.

“If we can maintain the learning curve we are on right now then we will only get better,” Curr added.

Notably, Japan is part of Group A with India, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. They will play their World Cup campaign’s opening game against New Zealand on 18 January.

The top two teams from each of these four groups will advance to the Super League stage while the remaining teams will fight it out in the Plate Championship.

Japan Under-19 squad for World Cup: Marcus Thurgate (Captain), Max Clements, Tushar Chaturvedi, Neel Date, Kento Ota-Dobell, Ishaan Fartyal, Sora Ichiki, Leon Mehlig, Masato Morita, Shu Noguchi, Yugandhar Retharekar, Debashish Sahoo, Reiji Suto, Kazumasa Takahashi, Ashley Thurgate.