The young guns might have failed to clinch the fifth and last ODI against England but Under-19 coach Rahul Dravid said his wards earned a “priceless experience” from a tough game that should help them in future.
Chasing 227 to win and claim the series 4-1, the Under-19 India team managed a tie against England on Wednesday.
Dravid said such close games will help the young generation of Indian cricket
“It is fantastic. It is a priceless experience. I think these are kind of experiences, if they learn from this and if they go on from here, it is something that will hold them in good stead. Even the lower order, the way they fought back from 137/7 we had made a lot of changes, a few new guys in as well,” Dravid said after the match.
“It was really nice for them to get a game like this, we would have liked to have won but tie is the next best result in that sense. We will take it and I just think just the closeness of the game and the way the lower order batted it will give them good confidence as well.”
The coach heaped praise on young batman Shubman Gill, who scored two splendid hundreds in the series.
“I think Shubman was terrific, he had been getting starts in the first two games and we sort of challenged him a little bit to try and see if he could convert it. He is obviously a very good player and it was very good to see him get the two big hundreds, the hunger is what you want to see.
“He carried on a little bit from what Himanshu (Rana) has shown. Himanshu, as well over the last four-five games has shown the hunger and then we sort of challenged everyone to follow Himanshu’s lead and Shubman went on. It is fantastic for all the guys to see that as well and it becomes a sort of benchmark for everyone,” Dravid said.
The coach also picked young batsman Prithvi Shaw for praise.
“At the Under-19 level, you expect the guys to have a few odd games where you don’t do well but he really played well in the last game there and got a really good hundred. He is a very good player,” said the legendary batsman.
Shaw, who initially failed in the series, finally played a big knock by scoring a ton. He said that it has been a good series and the team management was able see about 26 players.
“There have been some really good performances without mentioning individual names, people have really stood up. There were others whom we got to see for the first time, they weren’t in the squad in Sri Lanka so we got to see them a little bit which is exciting for us because we are still in the process of building the squad and when you are building the squad you want to see as many as you can.
India will now take on the visitors in two four-day matches at Nagpur starting February 13.
“A lot of it is also in consultation with the selectors. They are the ones who watch a lot of cricket. Honestly, I don’t watch as much as cricket as them, so I rely on them and a lot of the credit should go to them,” he said.
“There was a feeling that the boys who had played the whole U-19 cricket this year and had played well had no international cricket this year. We thought the Asia Cup and this one-day series as one to build for the World Cup. And saw the four-day games as an opportunity to those boys (who won’t be eligible for the World Cup) as an opportunity to play for India Under-19,” said Dravid on the games.
“It’s a big thing for them and they are all performers, they have done well and that’s why they are here. Something the selectors really wanted to reward and I am really glad that there will be fifteen new boys in Nagpur and hopefully we will try and give them a game at least. Hopefully they get a chance to play for India and learn a few things,” he said.