Four years and two under-19 World Cup editions later, the Unmukt Chand-led India will look to emulate the championship-winning feat of Virat Kohli's team that won the title in Malaysia in 2008.
Before the team boarded the flight to Australia on August 3, Unmukt was confidence personified. The 19-year-old had told HT that, “We are sure of putting up a strong show. We will bring home the Cup.”The teammates know each other well. Over the last one year, this team has either played together or has been based at Bangalore’s National Cricket Academy.
Apart from the tied Asia Cup final against Pakistan and winning the quadrangular tournament in Visakhapatnam, India have beaten Australia in a quadrangular tournament final played at the World Cup venues in April. Having had firsthand experience of the conditions at the grounds --- where 240 players from 16 countries will battle it out over the next two weeks — India enjoy a major psychological advantage.
“We know the wickets and the conditions better than most teams since we've played here before. Not many teams have that luxury and this will be a big advantage,” said all-rounder B Aparajith. With two warm-up wins, against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, the confidence of the men in blue has soared.
The World Cup, to be played in Queensland, will get underway on Saturday, with India opening their campaign against the West Indies on Sunday.