Under-19 World Cup – Messages from Virat Kohli, Joe Root and others lift India and England squads ahead of final
Tom Prest and Yash Dhull reveal details of inspiring conversations with their seniors ahead of the big match
“They were saying how impressed they have been with us and proud of what we have done getting to our first Under-19 final in 24 years,” Prest said in his pre-final press conference. “It’s amazing to know they have been watching and following from whatever they have been doing.”
Prest said England’s Under-19s have looked to emulate the senior team’s style of play in white-ball cricket right through this World Cup.
“Yeah, we’ve tried to play that attacking brand of cricket that Eoin Morgan instilled in that squad,” he said. “Whether that is with the bat, ball or field, we always try to take the positive option. That was one of the messages they were saying in their video they sent this morning – to not back down from the big occasion in the final and still play with that positive intent.”
The former England offspinner Graeme Swann, who was part of the side that won the Under-19 World Cup in 1998, is a member of the commentary team now. He also had some words of advice for the England players.
“[Swann spoke about] How big momentum is in these tournaments and to not get complacent,” Prest said. “He said in our game against Canada, we won it convincingly but our last ten overs looked a bit slack because we knew we had already won the game. Hearing that from him that it didn’t look great from the outside gave us a kick in the right direction that we can’t get complacent regardless of the stage or situation of the game.”
“He gave us his best wishes as the team is doing well,” Dhull said. “So his words will give us confidence. When a senior player speaks with the team, the team morale gets a boost. He spoke to us about some basic things such as how to play normal cricket, how to stick to our game plan etc. It was good to interact with him.”
Ahead of the game, one contest that has been built up as potentially game-changing is the one between India’s spinners and England’s batters. Left-arm spinners Vicky Ostwal and Nishant Sindhu both average under 15 for the tournament while conceding less than four runs an over, and have been driving forces behind India’s progress into the final. Prest, though, believes England possess the skills to handle their threat.
“They have obviously got some very good spinners but we’ve had experience playing sub-continental sides, we went to Sri Lanka just before Christmas,” he said. “We’ve all got our own individual plans, whether that is sweeping or using our feet. But we are confident we can put up a good show.”
Dhull said India would be wary of England’s attacking approach with the bat.
“The challenge against England is that they play in an attacking mode,” he said. “They dominate well, and they don’t let go of the attacking mode even if they lose 2-3 wickets. So we’ll try to stick to our plans and bowl as many dot balls as possible.”