Mount Maunganui: Optimism mingled with an eagerness to know what lies ahead as India’s potential future stars gear up to lock horns with Australia in their big- ticket campaign opener of the ICC U-19 World Cup here, Sunday.
Coached by the distinguished Rahul Dravid, there is no dearth of talent in the squad, and the former India captain’s sprightly boys would have got acclimatised to the conditions by now having arrived many days prior to the start of the tournament. India are three-time champions, the last triumph coming in 2014.
While Dravid, who has been at the helm of U-19 and India A squad for some time, may not like to focus on individuals, it is very difficult to not see the likes of skipper Prithvi Shaw, as the vital cog in the team’s batting wheel. Alongside Shaw, others who are expected to lead India’s charge are Himanshu Rana and Shubhman Gill.
Another exciting name doing the rounds is Bengal pacer Ishan Porel. He is set to spearhead the pace attack and he could be complemented by Shivam Mavi, who will be aided by the seaming conditions in this part of the world. Mavi’s right-arm fast-medium bowling helped India whitewash England in England last year.
Shaw said Saturday he is happy with the team’s preparations. “We’ve been here a week now, played a couple of games. Everything has gone well, the preparation of the team has been good. Our goal is obviously to win the World Cup but at the same time we are looking forward to winning our first game,” Shaw stated.
Asked if there are any Indian players in particular he thinks could have a lot of success at this tournament, Dravid said, “”We’ve been playing some very good cricket of late, so rather than focusing on individuals and naming a few people, we would like to work as a team.” Among the Aussies to watch out for are skipper Jason Sangha and son of Steve Waugh, Austin.
Press trust of India
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