Townsville will commence its new role as the hub of the Under-19 cricketing world for the next six months from late next week.
Assembling in North Queensland will be the cream of teenage cricketing talent from Australia, England, India and New Zealand.
The teams will participate in a Quad Series as part of the build-up to the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup in Queensland in August.
They will play a series of one-day games between 5 April and 15 April in Townsville, which is one of three Queensland venues co-hosting the World Cup along with Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
Admission will be free for all Quad Series games, as it will be for the entire U-19 CWC tournament.
Teams will begin arriving from next week, with Australia mounting an exhaustive campaign to ensure it will be in the best possible position to defend the title it won two years ago in New Zealand.
The U-19 World Cup has been the stage upon which a number of the game’s budding superstars received their first exposure, and its graduates are widely scattered throughout international and provincial teams around the world.
The Australian team that won in 2008 contained the likes of current Queensland Bulls paceman Alister McDermott, Brisbane Heat quick Nick Buchanan, Australian and WA allrounder Mitchell Marsh, NSW and Australian quick Josh Hazelwood and NSW batsman Nic Maddinson.
The Quad Series squad includes Victorian allrounder Meyrick Buchanan who played for the Melbourne Renegades in the KFC T20 Big Bash League this season and South Australian batsman Travis Head who finished the summer playing first class cricket for the Redbacks.
There were five Queenslanders in the 15-man squad for the Quad Series and eight Queensland players named in a preliminary 30-player squad for the Word Cup.
The five young Maroons who will play this month are Sam Hain (Gold Coast), Josh McClelland (Norths), James Peirson (Redlands), Mark Steketee (Souths) and Nick Stevens (Gold Coast).
They have been named in the preliminary 30-man squad along with Billy Stanlake (Gold Coast), Sam Truloff (Wests) and Jack Wildermuth (Valley).
Hain, a schoolboy on the Gold Coast, has already attracted attention, with English county Warwickshire signing him recently to a two-year deal due to his British heritage.
Steketee, an 18-year-old fast bowler from Warwick, was this week awarded the annual Jimmy Maher Bursary.
The Bursary provides valuable funding for a promising young country cricketer to enhance their career through training sessions with the Queensland Bulls, the provision of equipment, travel allowances where applicable, and mentoring from Maher, the former Bulls captain.
Steketee has enjoyed a big summer, taking 16 wickets at the national under 19 championships to earn a berth in the 30-man Australian U-19 World Cup squad.
Still living in Warwick, Steketee made his XXXX GOLD Premier Grade debut for South Brisbane in January and instantly claimed 6-16 off 10 overs in a one-dayer against Wests.
England and New Zealand have announced their squads, with each containing players in their line-ups with senior playing experience in their respective countries.
England has named twins Jamie and Craig Overton, with the 17-year-old allrounders recently signing contracts with leading county Somerset.