Under-19 Cricket World Cup: Rahul Dravid-coached India ruthless in quest for 4th title
The Indian U-19 cricket team led by Prithvi Shaw, coached by Rahul Dravid, is one win away from registering its fourth ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup title as it faces Australia in the finalcricket Updated: Feb 02, 2018 15:37 IST
When it comes to dominance in world cricket, there are some factors which enhance this trait in teams. The West Indies of the late 70s and 80 or Australia from the mid 90s till the middle of the 21st century had aggressive openers, a stable middle order, all-rounders who chipped in at vital times and bowlers running through opposition.
India’s current U-19 squad has all the above-mentioned attributes. Aggressive openers --- the form of Prithvi Shaw and Manjot Kalra; a solid middle order --- Shubman Gill’s brilliance; all-rounders --- Abhishek Sharma and Anukul Roy’s vital contributions, and bowlers --- Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Ishan Porel are the new-pace demons.
The India U-19 side has established a level of dominance that gives them the X-factor heading into the final against Australia in Mount Maunganui. Nagarkoti has touched close to 150 kmph, while the likes of Porel and Mavi have regularly touched close to 140 kmph. Three bowlers bowling over 85 mph, combined with Gill, Shaw and Kalra, who average in the range of 50-170, in addition to excellent fielding make this Indian team potent.
If one looks at the performances of the 2017-18 side in this World Cup, there are similarities with the champion sides of 2000, 2008 and 2012. In each of these editions, the trend for India’s success revolved around consistent performances from bowlers and batsmen.
2000 - The year of Yuvraj Singh
India’s maiden U-19 World Cup win was primarily due to Yuvraj Singh, who smashed 203 runs at an average of 33 and took 12 wickets. He was aided by splendid batting from Ravneet Ricky, who was the leading run-getter for India with 340 runs at the top at an average of 42.5. Yuvraj was complemented by Manish Sharma who also averaged 42.8. Apart from batsmen, Shalabh Srivastava and Anup Dave took 14 and 13 wickets respectively.
2008 - Virat Kohli, the wonder boy
The edition in Malaysia saw India going undefeated in the tournament, thanks to Virat Kohli’s consistency, backed up by Tanmay Srivastava (252) and Taruwar Kohli (218) at the top and middle order. The bowling effort saw Siddarth Kaul, Iqbal Abdulla and Ravindra Jadeja taking 10 wickets apiece. It was the bowlers who gave India the title.
2012 - Unmukt Chand to the fore
The common factor in 2000 and 2008 was that India’s march to the title was undefeated. In 2012, the team arrived on the back of winning four out of five series. After starting off with a loss against the West Indies, India bounced back thanks Ravikant Singh and Sandeep Sharma’s swing bowling and accuracy which fetched them 12 wickets. In the big final, captain Unmukt Chand slammed a ton as India defeated Australia to win the title for the third time. The 2012 win is perhaps the only time when India relied on moments of individual brilliance rather than all-round consistency in 2000 and 2008.
India’s arrival in New Zealand a week before the tournament was a big boost. Rahul Dravid said he did not have any fear about this bunch of cricketers, saying, “I like the energy and the spirit.”
Focused, spirited and dominant. India have all the traits which makes them favourites for a fourth title.