The tournament that launched the international careers of Kane Williamson, Steve Smith, Joe Root and Virat Kohli begins today at Bay Oval.

New Zealand take on defending champions West Indies from 2pm in a 50-overs match to begin the 12th edition of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup. Matches will also be staged in Christchurch, Queenstown and Whangarei with the tournament hub at Bay Oval.

The much talked about cricket arena will host six games in the next seven days and the final on February 3.

That seems a daunting task to be able to prepare so many wickets of international standard in such a challenging time but Bay Oval turf manager Jared Carter is taking it all in his stride.


"We also had the qualifying for the World Cup here (in 2014) and we had 14 games over a period of two weeks. That was a pretty intense period as well," he said.

"We kind of knew three or four months ago now roughly when the games were going to be and how many and all that sort of information. We then found out about the (Black Caps) internationals as well so we did a few weeks planning and figuring it all out.

"It is just like any major project really. You have got to do your planning and do it well and make sure your things are in place well in advance."

Carter is into his eighth season overseeing the transformation of Bay Oval from its humble beginnings to a world class venue.

While preparing the under-19 wickets he is also working on the pitch to be used for the Black Caps v Pakistan T20 on January 28.

"I am loading up that pitch now full of water and preparing it during the first few days of the under-19 tournament to get the base compaction levels near where they are meant to be because that window between the last under-19 game and that international is too narrow to do a full flood out and then get it dry, particularly if the weather is a bit scratchy during that period as well."

Media pundits and commentators have praised Bay Oval this summer for what appears to be extra pace and bounce in the wickets.

But Carter says that may be more of a perception than based on any scientific facts.

"It is kind of an interesting one for us because the official reports that come back from the match referees are telling us it is no different than three or four years ago.

"It is great that the commentators are saying the pace has picked up a lot. I think it is getting a little bit quicker and I am really happy about that. We are changing a few techniques as well and using different clay now (Kakanui).

"But there are so many variables that can affect the pace and bounce of a wicket."

ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup
Matches at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, 50 overs, 2pm starts. Free entry to all matches.

January 13 New Zealand v West Indies
January 14 India v Australia
January 16 India v Papua New Guinea
January 17 West Indies v South Africa
January 19 India v Zimbabwe
January 20 New Zealand v South Africa
February 3 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup Final