New Delhi: India U-19 head coach Rahul Dravid said he was hopeful of his young boys delivering the goods in the World Cup despite being a little too inexperienced in comparison to the team that lost to West Indies in the 2016 U-19 World Cup final.
Led by Ishan Kishan, the Indian U-19 team that traveled to Bangladesh in 2016 had more players with U-19 and first-class experience but the former cricketer turned coach backed his boys who he feels are equally talented and have the potential to make it big.
“We are quite similar. Maybe the last time’s team had more experience. They played more U-19 cricket,” said Dravid as quoted by the Hindustan Times. “But the balance of the squad and team is as good. The pace attack is good this time; a few spinners are good. Not too much of difference just that they played more U-19 cricket,” he added.
The U-19 World Cup 2018 will be held in New Zeland which has always been a humiliation ground for the Indians since the past and although Dravid agreed that the conditions there will be very challenging and unique he also reiterated that they have prepared well.
“In our camp in Bangalore, we tried to replicate the conditions in New Zealand but you can’t really replicate that because it is slightly unique, even things like atmospheric conditions and the wind, it’s unique from any part of the world,” said the Indian wall before departing for Tasmanian country.
The captains of the Indian U-19 World Cup bound teams have however always stood different form the rest. From Mohammad Kaif and Virat Kohli in 2000 and 2008 to Unmukt Chand and Ishan Kishan, the boys in blue have always been led by a charismatic captain and this year is no different.
Prithvi Shaw who has already carved out a name for himself ever since his inclusion in the Mumbai Ranji Trophy squad, will be one of the few players all eyes will be upon. The right-hander has already scored 537 runs including three tons in six matches, the 18-year-old however feels that international cricket will be a mile apart from domestic cricket where he has been such a hit.
Dravid however calmed down such high expectations from his captain and instead retaliated, “I don’t want to focus on individuals. Our team is great, a few players are missing. Some players get recognized but I believe that at this level you cannot predict who will make it and who will not.”
“When we were training in Bangalore, around 14 of our players were playing first-class cricket. We tried to get as many of them to train. We played three matches as well,” added the cricketing legend.
Meanwhile, last campaign’s runners-up India will face Australia in their opening encounter at the Bay Oval, Mount Manganui before squaring off against Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe on January 16 and 19.