Mount Maunganui (New Zealand), Feb 3 India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid is confident that it won’t just be “one memory” that would define this talented bunch of cricketers as a bigger and more challenging journey awaits them.
“It’s a memory they’ll cherish for a long time and hopefully it’s not a memory that defines them and they will have a lot more bigger and better memories as they go on ahead in their careers,” coach Dravid said after India’s fourth ICC U-19 World Cup title.
Dravid spoke about the effort that the entire batch put on for the last 14 month, which bore fruit.
“I am really proud of the boys, proud of the effort that they have put in and proud of the support staff as well. I think the effort we have put in over the last 14 months have been sensational. They really deserved this, couldn’t be really happier and proud for this bunch of boys,” the legendary batsman said.
He was always aware that the since this was an U-19 team, the spotlight will always be on him but as usual he was magnanimous in praising the entire support staff comprising of fielding coach Abhay Sharma, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey to name a few.
“Coaching this team, I tend to get a lot of attention, but it is really about the quality of support staff that we have had, there have been seven or eight of us, who have been together for the last 14 months. The effort they put in was incredible,” he said.
“I am proud to be a part of their (support staff) team and see it as that. We try and do what’s best for the kids and hopefully they can put in the performances on the field and they have certainly done that in this tournament.”
On cloud nine after lifting the trophy, India skipper Prithvi Shaw also credited the team, support staff and singled out Dravid for special mention.
“Can’t express what I’m feeling right now, really proud.
All credit to our support staff for really supporting us for the last two years. Rahul sir himself is a legend, ‘The Wall’ as we all know him.
“Full credit to our coaching staff. When you have two guys (Dravid and Paras Mhambrey), who have played international cricket, it gives you great insights,” Shaw said about their coach.
He was all praise for centurion Manjot Kalra.
“It was a crucial hundred from Manjot. (Shubman) Gill was batting so well before he got out. Both our pacers — Kamlesh (Nagarkoti) and Shivam Mavi, have been executing things so well through the tournament. It’s been wonderful playing matches here.”
Despite losing the final, Australian skipper Jason Sangha said he was proud of his team for the way they performed throughout the tournament.
“Don’t know what to say at the moment. Proud of the guys to get this far in the tournament. Best thing about today was guys tried to grind it. As a captain, you can’t complain when everyone’s giving 110 per cent,” Sangha said.
Sangha, however, admitted that they were completely outplayed by India in the final.
“Full credit to India. They played very well. Best of luck for the guys for the IPL. Good for their supporters who came out today.”
Shubman Gill, who was adjudged the Man of the Tournament for his 372 runs, said: “I am really proud of my team. We were fortunate enough to have Rahul sir as our coach. He was just telling me to express my game and keep it on the ground.
“Had a good time here. It’s been very exciting for me.
Hope to do well in IPL also.”
Kalra was awarded the Man of the Match after he blasted an unbeaten 101 off 102 balls to steer India to a eight-wicket win.
He said: “Great feeling. Enjoyed a lot. Conditions were very good. It was a flat wicket to bat on. In the team, it’s been a great environment.”
Left-arm spinner Abhishek Sharma, who took six wickets in the series, said: “Obviously, we have dreamt of this from last year. We had few plans and we stuck to it. It’s always grateful to be part of this team. I can’t explain the feeling.
We’ll celebrate this night – best night of our lives.”
His teammate Riyan Parag described it as an amazing feeling to come up trumps in a tough match.
“It’s just amazing. I was thinking I wouldn’t bat and I proved myself right. Just wanted Manjot to get to his century.
I thought it’d be a tough match. It was tough, but we made it look easy. It (pitch) was good for batsmen as well as the bowlers,” he said.
India seamer Ishan Porel praised the bowlers for putting up a great effort in the tournament.
“I’m feeling on top of the world. Credit goes to support staff and team. A competitive effort. Got lots of messages from India. I can only say that our bowlers have been fantastic all through the tournament. It’s a team effort,” he said.