Express & Star

Theo Wylie joined in World Cup squad by Smethwick duo

Rugeley’s Theo Wylie has been selected for England’s ICC Under-19s World Cup squad.


The competition takes place in South Africa next month with England drawn in Group B alongside the hosts, West Indies and Scotland.

Wylie, 17, has been rewarded for a series of impressive performances during the summer.

The talented teenager, who played age group cricket for Staffordshire before moving to Warwickshire, scored a stunning 150 for a junior England invitational XI against Australia under-19s in August.

He backed that up with another hundred against Ireland and then impressed as part of an under-19s touring party that faced India A, India B and Bangladesh in an ODI Quadrangular Series on the sub-continent last month.

Wylie is joined by two of his Warwickshire team-mates in the squad, Tazeem Ali and Hamza Shaikh.

It’s the first time three players from the county have been chosen to represent England in cricket’s elite international youth tournament, which starts on January 13.

Warwickshire head of high performance Paul Greetham said their inclusion capped a “breakthrough year” for the teenage trio – and that their performances have rightly been rewarded with World Cup selection.

“We’re very proud of all three,” said Greetham. “They’ve had breakthrough years in 2023 across club and county cricket. The ECB recognise their potential and we’re equally excited about their futures in the game. In recent years, Bears players Dan Mousley and Jacob Bethell have played in the U19’s World Cup and I’d love to see more of our Academy products follow in their footsteps.

“A World Cup is a unique experience. I’m sure the lads will revel in the opportunity to compete against the best young players in the world.

“To have three players included in an England programme is testament to their hard work, but also that of coaching and support staff at Edgbaston and at their respective clubs and schools.”

Hamza starred with the bat in India, amassing 464 runs, including two centuries, and his 126 against Bangladesh U19’s was the highest score of the competition.

Wylie scored 118 runs in total opening the batting and took four wickets with his left-arm spin, while Ali made three appearances and was also among the wickets.

Greetham also praised the contribution of their league clubs and schools who have helped support their development.

He added: “We must recognise the contributions of Smethwick CC and Attock CC (Taz), Knowle & Dorridge CC and Smethwick CC (Hamza) and Shifnal CC and Moddershall & Oulton CC (Theo) in the players’ development. Plus the academic and sporting support from Moseley School (Taz), Eden Boys & Sandwell College (Hamza) and Shrewsbury School (Theo). The school’s and respective staff have been outstanding in terms of timetable flexibility and pastoral support.”

The squad will be captained by Durham batter Ben McKinney and also includes 15-year-old Farhan Ahmed, the brother of England’s Rehan Ahmed.

Rehan Ahmed is the country’s youngest ever senior player in all three formats, having made his Test, ODI and T20 debuts at the age of 18, and his off-spinning sibling is already following in his footsteps.

There are familiar names elsewhere in the 15-strong squad too, with former England batter Joe Denly’s nephew Jaydn Denly lining up alongside Haydon Mustard, son of former England wicketkeeper Phil.

Luc Benkenstein, whose South African father Dale is the current Gloucestershire head coach, also features.

Ben McKinney (Durham), Luc Benkenstein (Essex), Farhan Ahmed (Nottinghamshire), Tazeem Ali (Warwickshire), Charlie Allison (Essex), Charlie Barnard (Lancashire), Jack Carney (Lancashire), Jaydn Denly (Kent), Eddie Jack (Hampshire), Dominic Kelly (Hampshire), Sebastian Morgan (Middlesex), Haydon Mustard (Durham), Hamza Shaikh (Warwickshire), Noah Thain (Essex), Theo Wylie (Warwickshire).