ICC U19 WC: England’s Tom Prest excited for semi-final against Afghanistan

ICC U19 WC England's Tom Prest excited for semi-final against Afghanistan

ST JOHN’s: Tom Prest is tapping into the knowledge of England stars past and present as he looks to lead his country to a first ICC Under 19 Men’s Cricket World Cup final since 1998.

England go into Tuesday’s Super League semi-final against Afghanistan having won all four of their matches in the tournament so far, sweeping past South Africa by six wickets in the last eight having topped Group A.

The Young Lions’ progress has been followed by the senior side, who have just finished a T20 series elsewhere in the Caribbean, while Graeme Swann has also been offering his advice as the current crop look to emulate the achievements of a squad the spinner was part of 24 years ago.

“Before the quarter-final, we had a few messages from the guys out here,” Prest said in an official release. “Knowing they are taking an interest and following what we’re doing gives us that extra confidence.

“It would be an unbelievable honour to captain a side in a World Cup final. Graeme Swann [working as part of the media covering the tournament] was playing in the team that won it in ’98, so he’s chatted to us a couple of times about what it takes to get through tournament cricket,” he added.

Prest has led from the front in England’s campaign to date, compiling scores of 93 and 154 not out in the group stage, while Jacob Bethell starred against South Africa with a brutal 42-ball 88.

Afghanistan also head into the last four contest full of confidence having successfully defended 134 in a thrilling four-run quarter-final victory over Sri Lanka.

Noor Ahmad picked up the Player of the Match award after bludgeoning four sixes in his 30 and taking 1 for 20 from 10 miserly overs, with the left-arm spinner one of several dangerous bowlers looking to cause England’s powerful batting line-up problems.

Suliman Safi’s side would become the first ever Afghanistan side to make the final of this competition should they win, going one stage further than the semi-finalists of 1998. “We have a good bowling attack and our spin is very strong. If we get a good total on the board, we feel we can defend it. We’ve had two days of good practice and we are prepared,” Safi said.

“This has been a good experience and a semi-final is a great achievement. Now we are focusing on playing good cricket,” he added. (ANI)