India’s under-19 team captain Priyam Garg has sought former skipper Prithvi Shaw’s advice on planning and team bonding during his preparations to lead the side’s world title defence from January 17 to February 9 in South Africa.

Before the Under-19 World Cup, the Indian youngsters are scheduled to travel to South Africa for three one-day matches against the Proteas U-19 side, followed by a Quadrangular Series featuring South Africa, India, Zimbabwe and New Zealand U-19 sides.

“Although I haven’t spoken to Virat sir yet, I have spoken to Prithvi sir a lot. He told me ‘your planning, your process and your team-bonding is most important’,” Garg was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo ahead of India’s departure for South Africa.

“The more the team will feel a sense of togetherness, the better will they perform. Prithvi sir also told me that the team should know what their strengths are. He said that team-bonding played a big role in India’s success in 2018,” he added.

India is the most successful team in the tournament, having won four titles till date. In the last edition they beat Australia by eight wickets in the final and remained unbeaten in the tournament.

However, Garg insists there is no pressure on the side.

“I am seeing it only as an opportunity to captain a team in such a big tournament. We’ve played so many events, so that’s an advantage for us. As a captain, all I’m thinking about is how to take my team forward... how to navigate the team out of difficult situations,” Garg said.

India U-19 head coach Paras Mhambrey said the team is balanced and the practice games ahead of the tournament will provide room for experimenting with a few combinations.

“The good thing is that we’re a very balanced side. (We have) seaming all-rounders, spinning all-rounders, quality fast bowlers and batsmen as well. So, those games in South Africa give us an opportunity to experiment and try a few combinations. In case we face such conditions, then we know the right steps,” the former India cricketer added.

The 13th edition of the U-19 World Cup will be played among 16 teams, split into four groups.

India are placed in Group A with first-time qualifier Japan along with New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super League stage.