Giovani Gokoel

The ICC Americas Under 19 Division 2 tournament kicks off in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the host nation intent on regaining a place in the regional age-group Division 1 tournament. Argentina were relegated to Division 2 after finishing last in the 2009 Americas U19 championship played in Toronto, Canada.

However, the task awaiting them is by no means straight-forward. The other three teams in the Division 2 event - Belize, Chile and Suriname - will all be eyeing the reward of a promotion to the top tier by having a successful week in Buenos Aires.

The three Affiliate nations are all competing at ICC regional U19 level for the very first time, and in many senses this means all the pressure will be on the host and Associate nation. Suriname should be the biggest challenge, as with its proximity to Guyana and the Caribbean, they will no doubt be a talented team of cricketers. Some of the Surinamese players, including captain Giovani Gokoel, have already represented Suriname at senior international level.

Argentina U19 Assistant-Coach David Mauro stressed that his team were not taking anything for granted. “It is very important for us to get back to Division 1, and we are taking one game at a time, especially that we have not played against these teams at this level before. Of course our objective is to win all three games, and if we play to our full potential, I believe we are capable of doing that.”

Captain Alejo Tissera expressed similar sentiments about the teams desire to win the event and climb back up to Division 1. “For a lot of us this is our last U19 tournament, but we know how important it will be for the next group to have the opportunity to play against the likes of Canada and the USA in the future. Cricket is a sport where the worst thing you can do is underestimate your opponent, so we are taking every game like a final, and hopefully we will have positive results by the end of the week.”

Alejo Tissera

The full schedule of games for the ICC Americas U19 Division 2 tournament is as follows:

Monday 22 February:

Argentina U19 v Chile U19 (Hurlingham);

Belize U19 v Suriname U19 (Belgrano)

Tuesday 23 February:

Argentina U19 v Belize U19 (Belgrano)

Chile U19 v Suriname U19 (Hurlingham)

Thursday 25 February:

Argentina U19 v Suriname U19 (Belgrano);

Belize U19 v Chile U19 (Hurlingham)