Shropshire prospect Dillon Pennington ready to step on to ICC Under-19 World Cup stage with England

Dillon Pennington, who made his Shropshire debut last summer, is ready to help England push for ICC Under-19 World Cup glory.

The opening bowler and hard-hitting batsman, from Shrewsbury, is proud to have been named in England’s 15-man squad for the prestigious tournament, which begins in New Zealand this weekend.

The 18-year-old Worcestershire prospect, a regular for Shrewsbury in the Birmingham League, is currently preparing for England’s three group games.

They will open with a clash against Namibia on Monday before facing Bangladesh next Thursday and Canada on January 20.

All three games are in Queenstown as England target progress to the knockout stages of a tournament featuring the world’s best young cricketers.

“From the moment I was told I was going to the World Cup to play for England, I haven’t really stopped thinking about it,” said Pennington, who made his Unicorns Knockout Trophy debut for Shropshire against Cheshire last April and his first Unicorns Championship appearance for the county against Oxfordshire in July.

“Christmas was that little bit better and it’s a surreal feeling knowing you are going to a World Cup to represent England, one that will stay with me for a long time.

“All I’m thinking about now is getting on the park and making sure that I’m as ready as possible.

“We have a strong squad, so should get out of the group stages, and then hopefully press on to try and win the tournament.

“I think we have the right balance of players to give us a chance to win the World Cup.”

Pennington, a former pupil at Shrewsbury’s Oxon Primary School and Wrekin College, revealed securing a place in England’s under-19 squad had been one of his main targets for some time.

It was an ambition he fulfilled when he made his international debut in a Tri-Series tournament in South Africa towards the end of last year and World Cup selection swiftly followed.

He said: “At the start of last year I sat down and set some goals and one of them was to try and make my way into the under-19s squad.

“I have not really played a lot of cricket in the last couple of year due to some injuries, so it was such a great surprise to be recognised for the hard work I’ve had to put in to get myself playing again.

“It was amazing to get a call from Andy Hurry saying I had been selected for the winter squad.

“South Africa was an amazing experience and a good taste of the standard of international cricket. The games I played I found challenging, but at the same time extremely good fun.”

Toby Shaw, the Shropshire CCC chairman, said everyone involved with the club wished Pennington well in New Zealand.

He added: “Dillon is a Shropshire boy and it’s great to see him in the England under-19 World Cup squad. He made his debut for us last season and he’s a real talent.

“We wish him every success in New Zealand and will watch with interest. It’s lovely to see another Shropshire player representing England in the Under-19 World Cup after Joe Clarke and Ed Barnard four years ago.”

Pictured: Dillon Pennington is a member of England’s 15-man squad in New Zealand for the ICC Under-19 World Cup.