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Dubai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday announced New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson as the event ambassador for the 16-team Under-19 World Cup which is due to be held in 2018.

The 12th edition of the tournament and the third in New Zealand, which will run from January 13 to February 3 across four cities and seven venues, is a platform to inspire the next generation of cricketers and fans.

Commenting on the appointment the 26-year-old said: "It is extremely exciting to be involved again in the U19 World Cup. I played two of them - it is the first stepping stone to playing international cricket. You go from playing domestic cricket to playing international cricket -- it's a big step but it's a step that is necessary.

"To have it in our backyard is great. We are going to see players who people may not know now but who in the years to come will become household names. In 2010, it was my first snippet of playing international cricket at home."

Anderson, who scored 324 runs in 10 matches with four half-centuries across the two editions of the tournament, has been representing New Zealand regularly in all three formats of the game. The 26-year-old all-rounder made his international debut in 2012 and to date has scored 683 runs and bagged 16 wickets in 13 Tests, accumulated 1109 runs and grabbed 60 wickets in 49 ODIs, and has 432 runs and 14 wickets in 29 T20Is.

The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, which replicates a major tournament experience in terms of organisation, playing facilities and media attention, is an important event in ICC's events calendar and is seen as a stepping stone in the development of all participants - players and match officials.

ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley said: "Having Corey on board is ideal because he a player who has come through this very system and hails from New Zealand. The ICC U19 World Cup is an extremely important event for us and our investment in it has been proven worthy time and again with so many top players first catching the world's attention here."

Defending champions, the Windies, New Zealand, South Africa and Kenya make up Group A, three-time champions Australia and India, PNG and Zimbabwe are in Group B, Bangladesh, Canada, England and Namibia comprise Group C while two-time champions Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Ireland are in Group D.

The top two sides from each group will advance to the Super League while the remaining eight teams will figure in the Plate Championship. The final will be played at Bay Oval in Tauranga on February 3 while both semi-finals will be played at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on 29 and 30 January.

Australia staged the first tournament in 1986 and then again in 2012, while the other countries to host the tournament are South Africa (1998), Sri Lanka (2000 and 2006), New Zealand (2002 and 2010), Bangladesh (2004 and 2016), Sri Lanka (2006), Malaysia (2008), New Zealand (2010) and the UAE (2014).

Australia and India have both won the tournament three times each, Pakistan have won it twice, while the West Indies, South Africa and England have won it once each.

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