The improvement of the England men’s team in white-ball cricket over the past seven years has been extraordinary.
Under the stewardship of Eoin Morgan, England have won the Cricket World Cup and reached a T20I World Cup final and semi-final.
And a glance at the squad lists for many of the franchise T20 tournaments around the world confirms England’s emergence as one of the leading nations in the world in the shorter formats.
The signs for England are good that their era of white-ball form could be set to continue, with the U19 side through to Saturday’s final at the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup, where they will face India.
This young England side, captained by the impressive Tom Prest, have not just taken inspiration from watching Eoin Morgan and company in action, but now are in direct contact with the senior international players, who offered advice prior to Saturday’s big game at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
“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,” Prest told the world’s media in a media conference on Friday. “So it’s nice to know we have so much support from back home.
“They were saying 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 Morgan instilled in his squad. Whether that is with the bat, ball or in the 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.”
Maintaining that intent against a talented Indian bowling attack will be no mean feat, for whom spinner Vicky Ostwal has been the standout performer in the tournament so far, taking 12 wickets.
But Prest and his team are the first England U19 men’s side to reach the final of this event in over two decades, and the captain says his team can’t wait to embrace the challenge against India.
“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.”
The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Final will start at 09:00 local time at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua.
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