Fletcher has interactive session with U-19 players

New Delhi: India coach Duncan Fletcher and other members of his support staff spent some quality time with the Under-19 cricket team at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore, fine-tuning their preparation for the August Junior World Cup in Australia.

Fletcher, along with bowling coach Joe Dawes, fielding coach Trevor Penney and head physiotherapist Evan Speechly, watched the boys closely over two sessions before flying to South Africa Tuesday for a one-off Twenty20 game.

Under-19 coach Bharati Arun told IANS that the players immensely benefited by the pep talk by Fletcher, Dawes and Penney on the finer points of the game and execution of plans out in the middle.

"Fletcher's interaction with the youngsters was highly beneficial He had a close look at the youngsters and spoke at length on the finer points of the game. Fletcher also asked the boys to uphold the basic values of the game. It was a morale booster for the players when they were told that there is little to choose between the senior and junior sides. The one percent difference between the two sides is in the approach and addressing the minute details," Arun said.

"The youngsters are better off for the interaction. Mind you, the U-19 World Cup sides are like the supply line for the national squad. Be it Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif or Virat Kohli, the U-19 team has thrown up highly talented players," he said.

Arun said the players under his charge are all highly talented and intensely motivated and hoped they convert their promise into a winning outfit.

"The boys have shown promise. I don't want to pick anyone in particular, suffice it to say that the squad has enormous talent. We want the 30 probables to fight it out with highly quality performance to make it difficult for the selectors to leave anyone out when they sit down to pick the final squad," he said.

The under-19 team will go to Australia next months to play in a four-nation tournament in Townsville, Queensland, from April 5-15. New Zealand, England and hosts Australia are the other three teams. and India as the other three teams.

With no international cricket in the next two-three months, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also wants the senior coaching team to interact regularly with the junior cricketers.

BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale told IANS that the idea is to make the junior cricketers better prepared when they make their transition to the senior team.

"The idea behind Fletcher's sessions with the juniors is to help out the team ahead of the U-19 World Cup. The interaction will surely help the junior cricketers," he said.