Rahul Dravid was like a proud man who had seen his children do something magical, as India defeated Aus in the U19 World Cup final and hoisted the trophy for the fourth time. Dravid was seen enjoying with the boys in blue and basking in the glory of his team’s win.
Speaking about the tournament, Dravid said, “The result of the final will tell you that India beat Australia. Six years down the line, only a couple of those boys played a few one-day games for India while four or five of the Australian boys have gone on to play for Australia. More of their guys have played first-class cricket. The debatable point is who won the final if you look back six years later?”
Dravid had a sound advice to the young colts of India U19 team, as he wants them to graduate to the next level of cricket.“The real satisfaction for me has been the process that has been followed over the last 14-16 months,” he said, with captain Prithvi Shaw sitting next to him on the dais. “I think, just the whole preparation and planning that has gone into developing under-19 players, and not necessarily players in this World Cup, is a good process that we’ve put in place,” said Dravid.
Dravid also clarified why he didn’t want eligible players back into the U19 team for the next World Cup.
He said, “On a personal note, I feel that once the boys are good enough, they should go out and play men’s cricket. Especially boys who are playing first-class cricket as well. There are a few who can perhaps come back and play for the under-19 World Cup team and while it might be good for the under-19 team, and boost our chances of winning the World Cup, I’m not sure that’s the best thing for them and Indian cricket.”
Some of the players like Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Ishan Porel, to name a few, have already played Ranji Trophy for their respective domestics teams.
Talking about the future of these young World Cup winners, Dravid said, “It’s not going to be easy for them to play domestic cricket or first-class cricket now that they are known players. There’s going to be expectations that are going to come with this. But it’s also the start of the hard work for us as well because even if a lot of them don’t go on to play the World Cup for India, which isn’t an easy task, but at least if they go on to play first-class cricket well, it’s going to be a stepping stone to get into the Indian side.”
Talking about the comparison between his U19 days and today’s U19 cricket structure, Dravid stated: “You can’t even compare generations. I think I played just one under-19 series, two Test matches against the visiting New Zealand side that came here, and that was it, really. And in comparison to that, the quality and quantity of cricket that these boys play is incomparable. The kind of professionalism and the support staff that these boys have got is what I had got when I first played for India.”