Rahul Dravid has done wonders with the India A side and the India U19 side during his tenure as coach. Both the teams have done very well recently and in 2018, the U19 team will face one of its biggest tests in the ICC U19 World Cup.
The U19 World Cup will be played in New Zealand from January 13 and the Indian U19 team will be led by Prithvi Shaw of Mumbai.
Before the departure of the U19 team for the World Cup, Rahul Dravid talked about his vision for the Indian U19 team.
He said, "The World Cup is an exciting challenge and provides a good opportunity for all these guys. There is a process now in place in Indian cricket - U-19 cricket to first-class cricket and then to India A and then the India national team, when the opportunity arrives.”
“I have been talking to these players about other formats as well. If they can make it to the India A team in 6-8 months, it will be great. We see this as a stepping stone," the former India captain said.
"I have learnt a lot in these years as coach of under-19 and India A team. These boys are from a different generation and their thinking is different. They have to adapt to all three formats. It's a huge challenge. The game has changed a lot. "I can't say who can go on and make it or who cannot. All of them have the potential to play for their state and India in future," Dravid quipped.
Rahul Dravid said that he was confident of Shaw’s leadership skills and said that adapting to the conditions in New Zealand will be the key for India U19 to do well in the tournament.
Dravid explained, "The conditions would provide unique challenge in that no one in the team has played in New Zealand before. The key would be in adapting to the conditions well. We have tried to replicate the condition s in the Bangalore camp to the extent possible but it's not possible to do it completely."
India, who finished runner-up in the previous edition, has been placed alongside Australia, Zimbabwe and East Asia Pacific qualifier Papua New Guinea.
"It's always good to have players in team with some first class cricket experience. This team too has a few. The team is similar to the one we had the last time with only one major difference - that in the previous team there were people with more experience of having played U-19 World Cup. "This team too has a good pace attack, good spin bowlers and a good batting unit like the last one," he assured.
"We are going to play a few practice games before the World Cup. That will help us. Playing first-class cricket will be of help to me in the World Cup," said Shaw, who already has five first-class hundreds to his credit. "It's a great opportunity and as captain I want to take the whole team with me. Everyone in the team knows his role. I want to win the World Cup," he concluded.
India U-19 squad:
Prithvi Shaw (Captain), Shubman Gill (vice-captain), Manjyot Kalra, Himanshu Rana, Abhishek Sharma, Riyan Parag, Aryan Juyal (wicket-keeper), Harvik Desai (wicket-keeper), Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Ishan Porel, Arshdeep Singh, Anukul Roy, Shiva Singh, Pankaj Yadav