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ICC Captain's Media Day, May 23 2019

'Driving force is to inspire the next generation' – CWC19 captains have an eye on the future

CWC19 feature

Winning the trophy is at the forefront of ambition for all teams at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, but there's more to it.

Virat Kohli remembers how as a young boy he skipped school to watch Zimbabwe play India in a Test match at his home-town of Delhi. It was a chance for him to see his heroes. "I had the time of my life," he remembers. His earliest memories of the World Cup are from 1996, when the event happened in India. He watched most of those games on TV.

Jason Holder can't forget the 2003 edition, when West Indies defeated hosts South Africa in the opening match by three runs – "A thrilling game where the momentum shifted a lot" – when nobody expected them to. He was just 11 years old then.

For Morgan, starring in a World Cup has been a childhood dream. But little did he expect that he would one day be leading England in the event, and go into it as one of the favourites.

The men in charge of the teams at World Cup 2019 know just what the World Cup means to their fans – especially for the next generation, because they were once in that place.

"I hope the World Cup is a platform for young kids to look at any of their heroes that play for any of the teams, and aspire to [be like] them," Morgan told ICC on Thursday, 23 May. "One of driving forces in the England cricket team is to inspire the next generation of young kids.

The guys who are playing for the first time will feel the love and energy from the fans. And that’s such a beautiful thing to have.

Virat Kohli

"It’s not all about performance, because you can’t always rely on performance. To be a role model and to set an example for young kids coming through is more important than performance on a daily basis."

You'd think this responsibility adds to the pressure of having to perform at a World Cup, but Kohli doesn't see it that way. According to him, the players thrive with the expectation.

"The one thing [the team] did speak about is, we play a lot of international cricket, and that brings a lot of pressure, scrutiny and attention," he said. "But a World Cup is a totally different ball game all together. When you have 1.3 billion people behind you, it’s going to be a different feeling. It’s a feeling of pride compared to none.

"We want to fulfill our potential and give the fans what they expect to see, and do it for the country … The anticipation, the excitement, we understand how it is for [the fans], and those things will help us push through in pressure moments.

"The guys who are playing for the first time will feel the love and energy from the fans. And that’s such a beautiful thing to have."