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Upbeat India receive pep talk from Virat Kohli before today’s U-19 World Cup final vs England

India and England Under-19 skippers pose with the World Cup trophy ahead of Saturday's final in Antigua (Image courtesy: ICC)

India and England enter the final of the ICC Under 19 Men's Cricket World Cup at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua on Saturday evening India time, knowing well that the only way to come out on top will be to keep playing attacking cricket.

For India, a record fifth title is the objective in their fourth successive final, while England have enjoyed their best ICC U19 Men’s CWC in 24 years since their one victory.

In the semi-final, skipper Yash Dhull hit a century, and he is hoping for more of the same as India try to contain England’s big hitters, with long-time India skipper Virat Kohli having offered some words of support to the players.

“It will be a good challenge against England. They play attacking cricket and look to dominate the opposition. Our approach against them will be to bowl as many dot balls as possible," said Dhull. 

“The team morale is high. We are excited to play the final. It’s the final but it is still just a game. So, we will play with the positive mindset, stick to the basics and we will look to execute our plans.

“He (Virat Kohli) gave us his best wishes as the team is doing well. 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.”

England skipper Tom Prest is only too aware of that history and how much his side have already achieved, and with the likes of Joe Root and Eoin Morgan having been in touch to offer their support, he is hoping to imitate the squad of 1998.

He said: “It’s the first time in 24 years that England have been in this final. I don’t know if we can believe it at the moment, we’re going to be playing in a World Cup final. It’s something you dream of growing up, so we’re all really excited and can’t wait to play.

“This morning we had messages from quite a few of the England senior team, saying that they had been following it and been really impressed with us. So it’s nice to know we have so much support from back home.

“They were saying that how impressed they have been with us and proud of what we have done getting to our first Under-19 Men’s Final in 24 years. It’s amazing to know they have been watching and following.

“We’ve tried to play that attacking brand of cricket that Eoin Morgan instilled in his squad. 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.”

England should be familiar with the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, having seen off both South Africa and Afghanistan there in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively.

Graeme Le Brooy will be the Match Referee for the final and the match officials standing in the game will be Roland Black of Ireland and Asif Yaqoob from Pakistan. Pakistan’s Rashid Riaz will be serving as the TV umpire and Jacqueline Williams from the West Indies will be the fourth umpire.

Also Read: India beat Australia, reach fourth consecutive U-19 Cricket World Cup final