Indian team arrives to emotional homecoming after winning ICC U-19 cricket World Cup
India won the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup by beating Australia in the final in New Zealand on Saturday.cricket Updated: Feb 05, 2018 21:05 IST
It was an emotional moment for Raju Pathak on Monday as the India under-19 team touched down at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport. Unlike the rest, who came simply to get a glimpse of the newly-crowned World Cup champions, Pathak eagerly waited for Prithvi Shaw, who he had trained as a child, to walk out leading the team.
The flight was a bit delayed. Word had gone out that the colts could reach anytime soon and for the passersby, the chance of getting to see Rahul Dravid was good enough to wait alongside journalists, cops and a few members of the Mumbai Cricket Association.
Another group also waited eagerly for Shaw. They were students of Rizvi Springfield, the school for whom Shaw had slammed a mammoth 546 during a Harris Shield match back in 2013. “We didn’t speak to him too much but we learnt a lot from him. Usko dekhte dekhte hi seekh lete thhe hum (We learnt merely by looking at him play cricket),” Ravi Gupta (Class VII) and Umar Khan (Class VIII) stated, while holding up a congratulatory banner for the team and Shaw.
“It feels great. I spoke to him a couple of times. We mostly used to stay connected over WhatsApp. It was a side that played great cricket in all three departments. Thus, it also eased a lot of pressure for the captain,” Pathak told Hindustan Times. “However, Shaw was great as a skipper as well. His decisions to change bowlers at crucial junctures of the game worked out really well.”
Pathak also went on to laud Dravid who not only had to ensure the side performs to its reputation but also helped maintain their focus during the IPL auction. “Having a coach like Rahul Dravid, who’s a legend in himself worked well. He ensured that they have their feet on the ground and don’t fly too high,” Pathak went on to add.
“I spoke to him (Shaw) before the semi-final against Pakistan. I felt that they might sledge him since that’s what most senior teams do these days and I had warned him to not fall prey to these mind games. However, Shaw’s a mature player. He’s played first-class cricket, played Ranji Trophy, games against New Zealand (as part of Board President’s XI) and he knows how to handle such situations.”
The state association’s plans for grand celebrations perhaps went for a toss as barring a few like Shaw, Arshdeep Singh and Manjot Kalra, they could hardly felicitate any other player. While Shaw did pause for a bit before heading towards the bus, the rest simply shied away from the pomp and show. A few youngsters brought by the state association were also left disappointed as they couldn’t interact with the champions and had to only stay content watching them from the sidelines.