After missing out on the U-19 India team’s flight to Sri Lanka for Asia Cup due to the BCCI goof-up in December, Punjab pacer Rishabh Bhagat would finally be able to play under the coaching of Rahul Dravid. The 19-year-old pacer has been included in the India U-19 team which will take on England U-19 team in two four-day matches at Nagpur starting from February 13.
“Being told not to report for the preparatory camp with your name in the original list was the most disappointing and heart-breaking news. I was raring for the Asia Cup challenge. Infact I did not have a passport and had gotten it made hurriedly for the Asia Cup. I could have been standing in the winners group when India clinched the U-19 title,” said Rishabh, who has now been included in the U-19 India team along with Daryl Ferrario (batsman and off-spinner from Kerala), who also missed out the Asia Cup opportunity due to the same reason.
The BCCI had got the cut-off year for eligibility wrong and just hours before the departure for Colombo they realised that instead of of 1-9-1998, the BCCI miscommunicated the cut-off year as 1997. As a result seven cricketers had to unpack their bags.
Fresh from his notable performance for Punjab in the Cooch Behar Trophy, Rishabh, who hails from Jalandhar, has put behind the Asia Cup glitch and is thrilled to be sharing the dressing room with coach Dravid for the two-match series against England.
“I was in a deep shock to lose the Asia Cup chance like that. My dreams were shattered. But then I shifted my focus to cricket and left it to destiny. It is better to be late than never. I am excited to be selected in the India U-19 team against this time against England. They are a good team, I would be aiming to do well for my team,” said Rishabh, who was 18 when was selected for the Indian U-19 team for Asia Cup.
He bagged 34 wickets for Punjab U-19 team in seven matches during the U-19 Cooch Behar Trophy.
“Representing your country is always a big opportunity for a young cricketer but playing under a legendary player like Rahul Dravid is like a dream coming true. He is an institution in himself. I have been talking to U-19 cricketers like Abhishek Sharma and Shubman Gill, who played in Asia Cup and are now playing in the ODIs against England. They have been influenced immensely with Dravid Sir. I too want to learn from him,” the lanky pacer concluded.