Youngsters' sucess due to Ganguly

It has now become the habit with youngsters in the Indian team to pull off match-winning performances and assistant coach Ashok Malhotra gives the credit to Sourav Ganguly.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2003 18:10 IST

It has now become the habit with youngsters in the Indian cricket team to pull off stunning match-winning performances and assistant coach Ashok Malhotra gives the credit for this not only to the "determination" of the boys but also to their inspirational skipper Sourav Ganguly.

Referring to the tri-series here, Malhotra said the youngsters have shown their "determination despite playing in quite difficult conditions. They have not given away anything."

India won both their matches in the tournament, involving hosts Bangladesh and South Africa, in a convincing manner and it has been youngsters Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif who have walked off with the honours with their superlative performances.

Malhotra, whose role here has been restricted to a great extent with John Wright joining the team, is all praise for the captaining skills of Ganguly and credits him for the success of the youngsters.

"All the credit should go to Ganguly as he has really worked hard with the boys. He has given them the confidence and backed them to the hilt," said Malhotra.

"The team has gelled well under Ganguly and it is a good sign for Indian cricket," said Malhotra who must also be given his share of credit for grooming a clutch of youngsters.

As a former national selector and currently the India 'A' coach, Malhotra has always advocated the need to blood these talented youngsters and the fact that many of these players have come good has made him a happy man.

"There are a lot of talented cricketers in the country and it is good that some of them have proved their worth. It is important to try out these youngsters as we need the back-up players," Malhotra, who will be serving as assistant to Wright during the tri-series here, said.

Malhotra was in charge of India 'A' which toured West Indies to take part in the Carrib Beer tournament and four of the players from that team -- Avishkar Salvi, Amit Mishra, Gautam Gambhir and Abhijit Kale -- were inducted in the senior team in the absence of a number of senior players.

The presence of Malhotra, who has developed a very close rapport with these players, have made the youngsters feel at ease among the "big boys" as he believes that they have the potential to succeed at the highest level.

Malhotra has also been responsible to some extent for the rise of players like Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan and Mohammad Kaif as these crickters got the break into the national team during his tenure as a selector.

But a modest man that he is, Malhotra is not ready to take any credit for the fine show by these players.

Malhotra was also full of praise for physical trainer Adrian le Roux for raising the fitness levels of the players.

"He has worked very hard and the results can be seen," said Malhotra.

The South African trainer was appointed by the Indian Cricket Board as part of an effort to enhance the fitness level of players and le Roux has been with the team for a year now.

Le Roux has brought about innovative drills to make the fitness exercises enjoyable for the players.

Malhotra, who had described Mumbai paceman Avishkar Salvi as the "find" of India 'A' team's tour of the Carribean, was impressed by the bowler's performance in his debut match against hosts Bangladesh on Friday.

"He bowled well and has a bright future and will improve by playing more and more," he said.

For now, Malhotra is quite satisfied grooming these young talented cricketers and believes that ultimately it is their hard-work and dedication which will pay dividends.

First Published: Apr 14, 2003 14:46 IST