Preparations form an important part in tacking any major international tournament.
This was the main reason why India’s Under-19 team won the World Cup 2018 in New Zealand. The far-sightedness of the management and coach Rahul Dravid in particular must be appreciated.
India began preparing at least two years before the tournament and a pool of players were identified for the event. India set up matches with other Under-19 international teams which gave all the players a chance to prove their worth.
India’s young hopefuls got a good feel of international games which proved to be the basis of their thoroughly professional performance in the tournament. India dominated the tournament like never before and were favourites for the title from the start.
The new players showed great maturity and talent when they played. This was a smart move as many of the other teams faltered at crucial times due to sheer lack of game preparedness.
Rahul Dravid must take major credit for India’s great effort. He is a calm, mature person who deals with situations with a clear mind.
He gave the young team confidence by motivating them, showing them how to deal with sticky situations and instilling a positive attitude in them. He also helped them when the Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions began as many players from the team were in the reckoning for the tournament. This kept their minds away from those distractions.
Ultimately, it was up to the team to perform. And they did it with great style and panache.
If Shubman Gill was the Man of the Series, then Prithvi Shaw was the fulcrum who balanced everything. He was is good batting form though a few technical issues surfaced. But he is young and he can surely overcome that. His captaincy was clear and firm.He has already done very well in the Ranji Trophy and his India debut is not too far away. Companies have already snapped him up for their ad campaigns.
Gill also has a great future and his four consecutive scores above 50 including a decisive unbeaten 102 against Pakistan in the semi-final. His performances in the IPL will be watched closely.
Manoj Kalra nailed it for India with a fine century in the final against Australia. The best thing for India in the tournament was two young fast bowlers clocking above 145 kmph. Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi have a great future ahead of them if they sustain such speeds. It will be a boost for the country too where real fast bowlers are in short supply.
The real challenge for India’s boys will be when they play with the big league players. The scenario is quite different there as professional, street smart players will try every bit to destroy their confidence.
The big test begins there. Either they will swim or sink.
#The views expressed in this article are those of the columnist and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.