It was a good day for Indian cricket on Sunday. Not only did they go past New Zealand, they were also crowned champions in the U-19 World Cup. India became the only team after Australia to win the senior and junior World Cup in consecutive years.
While the win against New Zealand
was sweet, the triumph at Townsville was sweeter. It doesn't happen too often in Indian cricket that you go to Australia and beat them in their backyard. No wonder, the entire nation is proud of the young lads.
Under-19 is a platform, rather a supply chain to the senior team, and although it is early days, I hope these players will be well looked after by their states and BCCI to graduate them to the international level.
It is important to push them at the right time to play at the highest level. Unmukt Chand, Smit Patel, Baba Aparajith, Ravikant Singh and Harmeet Singh will need proper handling to be ready for the top level.
India also performed well in Hyderabad. By winning the toss, MS Dhoni put pressure on the Kiwi batters, because batting on the fourth day in a Test match in India is never easy.
In the post-match presentation, skipper Ross Taylor said he didn't feel that not playing a warm-up game was the reason for their poor batting performance. He needs to remember that a lot of his players have not played in Indian conditions and it is not easy to get used to the turning ball straight away.
A lot of people might say that it wasn't a very strong New Zealand unit, but getting 20 wickets in a Test is never easy.
The spinners were outstanding. Jeetan Patel also bowled well for the visitors, but having watched Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin, he must have realised how important it is to bowl slow in these conditions.
Ashwin has a very good record in India and I hope he uses this experience to become better overseas.
He must try and add variation to his repertoire, which will come handy when he travels abroad. He needs to realise that he will not get as much purchase away from home but will still have to take wickets in those conditions. His carom ball and top-spinner will pose problems to the tail-enders.
For the Kiwis, this loss must have hurt. They next play in Bangalore, which offers good batting conditions. I hope they recover fast mentally or else the Test match could be over quickly as well.
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