As astute as he was as a cricketer Rahul Dravid was the main reason behind India U19 team departing early for the tournament to New Zealand. The Prithvi Shaw-led 15-member squad, along with the support staff, left Mumbai on Thursday morning even though they play their first match of the showpiece tournament against Australia on January 14.
According to a BCCI spokesperson, it was Dravid who asked for an early permission to depart as he felt that the youngsters would need more time to get adjusted to the conditions. It’s also learnt that the BCCI has organized three warm-up games against Central Districts.
“When Dravid came up with the request, the BCCI agreed. These boys have not played in New Zealand before and apart from the conditions, they will also have to get used to the changes to their daily cycle resulting from the different time zone.” “The board also felt the boys should get enough practice before they play their first game. So, apart from the two warm-up games scheduled by the ICC, they wanted to give additional practice games, which would be vital,” the spokesperson said.
Interestingly, before leaving for New Zealand Dravid managed an interaction of the young boys with Indian skipper Virat Kohli among several other cricketers who spoke about how the journey started for all of them.
“There was an opportunity for an interaction, and I wanted these boys to share their experiences. The World Cup is an experience surely but life after the World Cup brings a lot of experiences too, so the present crop of boys had an interaction with them in a relaxed environment. We had three good games, tough games. we managed to get five or seven U-19 players from the last batch, of course, we didn’t want to pull the others out of the CK Nayudu Trophy or the Ranji Trophy but the ones who were available came up and participated,” Dravid said.
“For us, it is about focusing on our cricket and trying to play sort of our brand of cricket, and just being aware of the different conditions that might be there, it is about adapting to that, adapting to those conditions quickly will be the key to us,” concluded Dravid saying how they would approach the tournament.