IF THERE was one thing that defined India’s record-extending fifth title win in the Under-19 World Cup, then it was maturity of the young lads. The stuff they presented in the final against England was exemplary not only in style and panache but also in strategy. This has remained the biggest takeaway for Indian cricket after the planners put in place a system which has kept churning players who show maturity beyond their age. The youngsters who went undefeated in the entire tournament in the Caribbean were only representation of the larger idea of Indian cricket. They need to hailed for the record fifth triumph in U-19 World Cup but even above that the entire team deserves a standing ovation for the solid heart they showed in the face of severe adversity.
This edition’s victory is not just a result of great planning and perfect execution of strategy but it has come with a special coat for the manner in which the bunch stood up against heavy odds. The Indian team was coming into the tournament on the back of three-month preparation that also was marred by regular interruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Health situation in India had put paid to all hopes of action for the Under-16, Under-19 and Under-23 players. The BCCI had no option than to pause junior cricket in wake of the fresh outbreak of the virus thus robbing precious preparation time for the World Cup-bound team. The team showed great resilience to put it behind their back when the marquee event kicked-off. It was only half the start as COVID-19 struck back with vengeance in the Indian camp rendering almost half of the team including skipper Yash Dhull unavailable. Beset with the misfortune, India used their only 12 players available in the league games with remarkable effect and emerged victorious in each of those matches. This makes the Caribbean Sojourn absolutely special for the country. Full credit to the Yash Dhull and his band of wonder boys for keeping the belief alive.
They never looked in awe of any opposition nor showed even a hint of peer pressure. In the entire tournament, India were the only team to bowl out each of their opposition while remaining undefeated. They did it even with their reserves and this makes the 2022 triumph all the more exceptional. Confidence was certainly the middle name of this team which has now produced stars for the future. Skipper Dhull, Raj Bawa, Shaik Rasheed, Dinesh Bana, Ravi Kumar, Kaushal Tambe, and many others are already looking part of the larger scheme. They were fearless but responsible, youthful but mature in their game and behaviour. Their sense of responsibility of holding their country’s prestige aloft has left a heartwarming feeling in the fans of Indian cricket. All they need now is a proper channel and selfless guides to cover the journey to further glory.
This part brings in picture VVS Laxman, who was with the team in the tournament. The title victory bore a huge stamp of Laxman’s presence. It was evident in the cool demeanor of the players, their well-calculated strategies and non-plussed exterior in pressure situation. Laxman is now perfectly carrying the legacy started by Rahul Dravid. With a dedicated coach like Hrishikesh Kanitkar tending to the juniors along with Laxman, the future of Indian cricket is definitely in safe hands.