While it rained here on Sunday, the Indian team kept itself busy watching the U-19 boys play the World Cup final. Unfortunately, the call from the ground came too soon and they missed a part of it.
But soon after the Test ended and Ross Taylor had given New Zealand’s take on their loss, an enthusiastic Virat Kohli rushed into the media conference room just to congratulate the colts.
Kohli captained India to their last U-19 World Cup win, four years ago. “I wish Unmukt and the boys on their achievement. Thanks to the TV in the dressing room we kept track of the match during the rain delay,” he said. “I know the feeling (having won it himself), how difficult it is beating Australia in Australia… the conditions, the wicket.”
R Ashwin, who was named man-of-the-match, made it clear. “This victory means a lot as it happened in Australia, where we had lost (badly).”
The skipper Unmukt Chand was the man of the moment. VVS Laxman’s coach, John Manoj, predicted an India cap for the batsman while Kohli and Ashwin were effusive in their praise.
“It is the best knock I have seen in recent times,” said Kohli. Ashwin praised Smit Patel and Baba Aparajit, whose father is the India team media manager here. He kept track of the match and celebrated the win by distributing sweets.
Kohli, one of the few U-19 players to make the top grade, had a message for the triumphant players. “Guys, this is your moment, live the moment. Don’t leave the hard work, work to go higher up.”
Unmukt’s coach Sanjay Bhardwaj, who is also Gautam Gambhir’s coach at North Delhi’s Bharat Nagar cricket academy, said the presence of the senior pro helped the youngster. “Gautam would give Unmukt tips during the nets, especially on how to play fast bowling, and on how to leave the ball. It is a difficult thing to do, particularly in the conditions they were playing, so those tips were really important,” said Bhardwaj.