India captain Virat Kohli met the U-19 side that will compete in New Zealand next month before departing for a challenging tour in South Africa. In the presence of coach Rahul Dravid, Kohli, a former U-19 World Cup winning captain, addressed with Prithvi Shaw and co, reported Indian Express.

One of the stories that Kohli shared during their interaction was the manner in which the seeds of becoming the best finisher in the world was planted in his head. “He said a practice session shouldn’t ever be a random exercise. If you want to spend time in the nets, then do it only if you have a set goal or target in mind,” a source was quoted as saying.

“He spoke about how, as a child, he would get upset whenever India failed to chase a total down, and would picture himself in an Indian jersey getting them over the line. He said that the mental preparation to become the best finisher in the world in ODIs started there.”

With the event being televised and India’s youngsters performing consistently in recent tournaments, there is a buzz around the team. Shaw taking to Ranji Trophy like a duck to water has earned him the billing of Indian cricket’s ‘next big thing’. Kohli’s advice was to the boys was to not pay heed to pressure, “He said ‘if you back your strengths and believe that you can get the job done, then the pressure will take care of itself. You don’t have to think about it’,”

Excited about ‘special’ Shaw

Kohli is aware about teenage prodigy Prithvi’s exploits in first-class cricket, where he has already scored five hundreds. “I am also excited about Prithvi [Shaw]. I have heard a lot about him and Ravi bhai [Shastri] has also told me many things about him. He has had a lot of good performances in first-class cricket, which is rarely seen.

“He has been made the captain ahead of the boys, who have played U-19, there is special ability in him, that we have seen,” Kohli was quoted as saying in Mumbai. “Rahul bhai spoke to me and said that I should talk to them before leaving.”