Dubai: UAE-born Andri Berenger, who learned the basics of cricket in Sharjah, has been selected to the Sri Lankan team for the upcoming Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand.

Berenger had represented the UAE at Under-15 level before leaving for Sri Lanka in 2004.

He learned the basics of the game at the age of nine from Shahzad Altaf, currently head coach of Young Talent Cricket Academy, and former Pakistan Test star Tauseef Ahmad. He trained with these two coaches at an academy then known as Emirates Cricket Training (ECT).

Berenger's first international exposure was while training at ECT. He also toured England and Pakistan.

He also captained Grammar School's Under-14 team and scored heavily in inter school tournaments.

Thus he got to represent the UAE's Under-15 team in the Gulf Cup held in Bahrain.

He swept the awards for the best batsman, best wicketkeeper and man of the series in the Gemini Cup Under-15 tournament at the Sharjah Cricket ground, scoring 334 runs with two centuries from four matches.

"It is indeed a proud moment for me. I would be happy if he gets to play international cricket for Sri Lanka," remarked Berenger's father Kenham, who was a constant spectator at his son's matches in UAE.

"In 2005 he got a scholarship from St Peter's College in Colombo and left the UAE.

"In the All Island Under-17 tournament in 2008, he scored 807 runs with two unbeaten hundreds and six half centuries for an average of 90."

In the Under-23 division one tournament, Berenger hit a career-best 174 and notched up four half centuries from six matches.