India Under-19 captain Vijay Zol is confident of living up to the billing as favourites © Getty Images
Bangalore: Feb 7, 2014
India Under-19 captain Vijay Zol said his team was not under pressure against Pakistan in the World Cup opener as they had beaten the arch-rivals twice in the recently-concluded ACC Under-19 Asia Cup.
“Match against Pakistan is a different ball game, but we are in a good position. We have beaten them twice. The league match in Asia Cup was exciting and was anybody’s game, but we beat them convincingly in the final,” Zol told reporters on the eve of their tour to Abu Dhabi to play ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014.
India, the three-time champions (2000, 2008 and 2012), have been clubbed with Pakistan, Scotland and Papua New Guinea in Group A. They will open their campaign against Pakistan on February 15 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Talking about adaptability, Zol said the team had never played in Abu Dhabi but was confident of adjusting to the playing conditions.
“We have played in Sharjah and Dubai, but not in Abu Dhabi. We need to adjust a bit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and we are confident of doing it. It is a batting friendly pitch,” he said.
Zol insisted that his team has been successfully getting acclimatised to the conditions it was evident from their victories on bouncier tracks in Australia.
“We adjusted well on Australian wickets, which had better bounce. We did well winning all the matches,” he said.
The 15-member squad will be leaving for Abu Dhabi tomorrow in their quest to defend the Under-19 World Cup title under Zol’s captaincy, who recently led India to junior Asia Cup victory.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 World Cup will be held in the United Arab Emirates from February 14 to March 1.
Zol said his team was not unduly worried about the outcome of the game, but wanted to go out there and play hard.
Talking about the rigorous “Boot” camp, which the 15-member World Cup squad underwent at the Chinnaswamy stadium, Zol said “it will help the team to play as an unit”.
“The camp will help us to play as one unit and players will understand their roles better. This will help us bring down pressure, if we feel any during the tournament,” he said.
Speaking further on the camp, team coach B Arun said it was more of team-building activity and cutting out specific jobs for each player.
“If he knows his role, pressure will automatically come down,” he pointed out.
However, Arun felt that the players would need to raise the bar to retain the World Cup title as it was going to be tough this time around.
“There is always scope for improvement and players have to learn from their past mistakes and not repeat them. The camp helped them in understanding that,” he said.