It's perhaps a sign of the times that New Zealand Cricket have not quite managed to allocate budgets to allow their Under-19 team the kind of exposure they would have liked leading into the World Cup, but the team management isn't certainly using that as an excuse. They shouldn't, too, after winning three games on the bounce in the run-up to the quarter-finals.
Between the previous edition in January 2016 - where they finished 12th - and a month before the current one, New Zealand's Under-19s didn't play a single international match. Around Christmas, they played a short series at home against Zimbabwe. Then they had two warm-up games organised by the ICC before heading into what was a group of death: games against South Africa, defending champions West Indies, and Kenya. To put things into perspective, even Afghanistan managed to gain more match-time between then and now.
New Zealand, though, have benefitted from a talent-identification system that has been built around their six major associations and their coaches who have been working in sync with Paul Wiseman, the overall in-charge and current head coach of the Under-19 side.
"The program has been set up around our talent identification," Wiseman explains. "We have six major associations and six coaches, who I keep in regular contact with. They have been fantastic with their communication. We have worked with 13-man-squad for the last 18 months or so. They have five camps during the winter for a week [each] and we have always tried to know them better. The whole concept is not just around the performance side of things. We view this as development. If you perform well in it, that is a bonus, but we are really trying to develop cricketers for first-class and hopefully the Black Caps [New Zealand's national team]. We are looking at the whole picture, not just performance."
Ahead of the 2016 campaign, a lot of the players in the squad linked up for the first time before their flight to Dubai, where they played four practice matches before flying out to Bangladesh. This time, though, while match practice has been hard to come by, the players have been given time to gel over the last 18 months through specialised camps and inter-squad games.
"We struggled on spinning wickets last time, so we have put a bit of focus on playing spin as well, but like I said, it is long-term development for these guys," Wiseman explains. "For New Zealanders to learn to play spin better is key because half their games at the international level are played on those sort of wickets.
"Also just getting to know the group that we have got coming through better and better, having more time with them and more expertise with them, not just with coaching but sport science stuff as well, has been a big part of it. That is great because they have been ready for this challenge more than what we were the last time. It wasn't the players' fault that we didn't have enough game time."
One of Wiseman's challenges in his role has been to sometimes convince young players where their future lies. Most often, he deals with players having to choose between one or two sport or cricket and academics.
"We try to make sure the players have balance. If they are at university, we try to fit things around that as much as we can - like have camps during holidays and things like that. We think that is a very important part of growing the person. If we have a more all-round person we will get a better player. We also encourage them to play other sports as long as they can. Our motto is: play as many sports as you can until you make a decision. We might lose one or two along the way but I think we will end up with good athletes."
Wiseman cites the example of Jordie Barrett who was at the crossroads in 2016, not sure whether his true calling was cricket or rugby. He missed selection for Bangladesh because of an unfortunate injury before the squad was picked. Today, he is a fullback for the All Blacks.
"At the end of the day, guys will work out where their heart lies and where they think they have got the best future, which game they love, and we'll encourage it," Wiseman says. "Obviously we push cricket but we'll completely understand if they go elsewhere."
It is because of this 'time players take' to figure out where their true calling is that New Zealand haven't shied away from allowing eligible players to feature in multiple Under-19 World Cups. Four cricketers from the 2016 batch - Rachin Ravindra, Felix Murray, Dale Phillips and Finn Allen - are also part of the current squad.
Ravindra has now delivered three back-to-back good performances. His three wickets against West Indies set them back after a solid opening stand. Against Kenya, he struck a sublime hundred. In the final group game against South Africa, he became the first New Zealander to hit a half-century and pick four wickets at the Under-19 World Cup. Phillips chipped in with a cameo to arrest a middle-order slide, while Allen has struck a century and half-century in three innings so far.
"It comes down to what we think the player needs," Wiseman says of the balance between overexposure and opportunities. "We have brought a couple of younger guys who are involved in our camps, and will more than likely be involved in the next Under-19 World Cup. They will be working alongside these players. That is just how it works. It is quite rare to have four guys playing two editions. Preferably we would only have one, but the great thing is we've had some of our players have one World Cup experience in the subcontinent and one here at home. These guys could be the guys who play World Cups for our senior team and have had experiences in both now.
"These World Cups are brilliant but they are not a career-defining experience. As long as they go away and learn from them and become better from there, [it is] fantastic. It's the same for a number of players who have missed out but are very close to the side. At the end of the day, they have missed out on a great experience but it's not a career-defining one. So we try to keep everything in balance and the whole thing is learning and development. It doesn't really matter if we come twelfth in the World Cup or first, at the end of the day it's how many Black Caps we can produce and how many players that we can make better."