Fateh Singh has had to overcome the challenges posed by a new environment ahead of the U19 World Cup in the Caribbean, but, with tournament preparations all but complete, he feels he has done just that.
Singh’s England begin their campaign against Bangladesh on 16 January, with their other Group A fixtures against Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
In the lead up to the tournament, the young all-rounder has had to adapt his left-arm spin to the particular conditions of St Kitts - the base for Group A.
Singh took 2-2 from 4.3 overs as England overcame Papua New Guinea by 281 runs in his first warm up game.
“I’ve never been to the Caribbean, but I had been told there was always a strong breeze,” Singh said. “Actually getting here and feeling it for myself, you really notice it - it’s very windy.
“You have to hold up your action, and put that extra bit of effort in just to stay aligned. Richard Dawson [Head Coach] has talked about getting up off my front foot at the crease. It is a simple thing but it's about making sure I do it every ball and not getting lazy.
“The spinning wickets are in my favour and gave me confidence going into warm up games. The nets have spun, so they have been good to bowl on. It’s been challenging to alter where I pitch the ball to factor in the wind, but I’m feeling good.”
England will be hoping to go one better than their Plate Final victory against Sri Lanka in 2020, in which Joey Evison provided the impetus to his side’s batting innings with 59 from 45 balls.
“I think the fact that I am following the likes of Joey in an U19 World Cup is a great testament to the system at Notts. It shows that we are able to bring players through who can play first-class cricket or play international age-group cricket.” Fateh Singh
However, for Singh, personal progression is as important and he is all too aware that he will be sharing the pitch with individuals who may go on to become fully capped internationals.
“Obviously, we want to win the World Cup, we have come here to win,” Singh said, “But we also want to develop, that is one of the key things.
“Age group cricket, and this World Cup in particular, is about making us into better players so that is a priority - gaining experience. There are also bound to be a few players who will go on to play for their country.
“I think the fact that I am following the likes of Joey in an U19 World Cup is a great testament to the system at Notts. It shows that we are able to bring players through who can play first-class cricket or play international age-group cricket.”
Despite only being the current crop’s third international assignment following a home summer series to West Indies and a tour of Sri Lanka, Singh believes the group are tightly knit and prepared for whatever comes their way.
Indeed, having never played against their group stage opponents - aside from a warm up game on Tuesday against the UAE - could stand to be a help as much as a hindrance.
“As a group we have gelled nicely, we all get along and there are no real cliques,” Singh continued.
“It is a good team environment. We played together in the summer, before that I had played against a few of the squad but hadn't met them. We have come together quickly, and that bodes well.”
“Because we haven’t played against some of these teams we'll come up against, you’ve got to learn to adapt quickly and read the situation of the game.
“Everyone is in the same boat, though, we’ve only played against Sri Lanka and West Indies so they are the only ones who know about us, so it might come down to who can react quicker.”
England Men's U19 World Cup Fixtures
Sunday 16 January: England U19 v Bangladesh U19
Tuesday 18 January: England U19 v West Indies U19
Thursday 20 January: England U19 v UAE U19
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