ICC U-19 World Cup 2018: Home is behind, the world ahead for India Colts

Jan 13:During an Under-19 quadrangular tournament in Mumbai last year, coach Rahul Dravid gasped in dismay. A wicket-keeper batsman, the sole missing link of an otherwise ship-shape side, he has been monitoring had just perished playing a careless stroke.
It, however, was an instance that illustrated how devotedly he has taken to himself the assignment of moulding the next generation of India's cricketers.
Not that his predecessors were less serious or focused, but Dravid has estranged himself from it's-fun-coaching-the-boys trope of them. He has, in his two-year tenure, inculcated into the profile all the virtues of his batting, that of hard work, meticulous preparation, eye for detail, togetherness, wringing in every ounce of potential from his wards, and without stamping or imposing his legend-hood on them.
The first thing he told a bunch of over-strung boys before the previous World Cup batch was not to be petrified by his aura. "The first time I saw him, I was literally star-struck and was at a loss of words. So were most of my teammates. Sensing it, he told us to be at ease, cracked a few jokes and told us to consider him as a elder brother or teacher. To us, he was both, and brought great value addition to each one of us," says all-rounder Washington Sundar.
To not value add is like not being Dravid. He keeps a close tab on even the minutest aspect of a player, as meritocratic as he was during his career. During the U-19 tour to England last year, Prithvi Shaw was unable to convert his starts into hundreds - his four innings read 86, 69, 51 and 44. He detected that Shaw tended to play away from the body as the innings wore on. He rectified this in the limited-over matches and scored a hundred in the fourth ODI.
Likewise, he corrected Shubman Gill's back-lift , which was too high for English conditions, and advised him to curb his aerial shots. The Punjab batsman reeled out hundreds in both youth Tests.
For several of the colts, the England tour was the most memorable moment in their yet-blooming career. They're a privileged batch too, for few of their U-19 predecessors were fortunate enough to venture outside Asia. The biennial World Cup, the Asia Cup and a fleeting trip to Sri Lanka or Bangladesh were their only exposure outlets. Back in Dravid's days, there weren't even U-19 World Cups.
But several of the latest brigade have played in Sri Lanka, England and Malaysia. The exceedingly promising ones like Shaw has played in Emerging Teams Cup and India A series. At the same, immense care is taken to not over-expose them - hence players are rotated and newer ones are blooded in, which also gives a deeper pool to pick from. Last year alone they tried 40 different players. "When I took over the U-19 coach, one of the things I felt was that people stay on and play too much of U-19 cricket, which I think is dangerous so we took a decision of not allowing anyone to play more than one World Cup," Dravid had said recently.
It benefits that Dravid dons the dual role, so that the transitioning has continuity, and not a case of having to adapt, or in worse cases unlearn and unpick, to the machinations of a new coach. Hence, the likes of Washington, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer have not only been A team regulars but also were afforded with sporadic breaks in the national side. Not just Dravid, the team has a whole set of experienced cricketers nurturing them, like bowling coach Paras Mhambrey, who like Dravid supervises the 'A' team bowlers too, and fielding coach Abhay Singh. Agesncies
Source: Agencies


  
  

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