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Challenge for U-19 champions starts here - Dravid

Challenge for U-19 champions starts here - Dravid

After suffering heartache in the last edition of the Under-19 World Cup, where India lost to the West Indies in the final, this time, Dravid had the pleasure of leading his colts into the sunset.

Dravid maintained that the entire support staff worked as a team and the Under 19 World Cup victory was a result of the hard work put in by the coaches as well as the players. Ahead of the big game against Pakistan, however, Dravid was stressed more about one thing more than the opposition. BCCI has rewarded Dravid with Rs 50 lakh for his contribution to the game.

We have tried to do that as far as possible with these boys, especially the day before the game.

While acknowledging the limelight the World Cup triumph has brought on these cricketers needs to be savoured and not shunned in an attempt to being overly protective of budding careers, Dravid said it's imperative that the players internalise the lessons that come with the experience. "But, I am happy that the boys got a feel of an Indo-Pak contest", he added.

Dravid's argument is valid, if the three seniormost juniors had been included, one of them, not Shaw, would have captained the side and Gill may not have batted at No 3. The publicity of the World Cup has certainly prompted the local national youth system to be more competitive, as evident by Afghanistan qualifying for the semi-final at the 2018 World Cup.

It is learned that Dravid's message was to the young champions to restrain themselves from any act of ugliness while they went about their celebrations following beating Australia in the final on Sunday. Six years down the line only a couple of these boys have played a few One-dayers for India, while four or five of the Australian boys have gone on to play for Australia. I played a lot of school cricket and scored heavily and then went on to play in the Ranji Trophy as well. But we made a conscious decision not to pick them up for this World Cup as I felt it will be better for them to play under-23 cricket and senior men's cricket. "The hard work begins for them and for us as well, as to how we manage these boys over the next few years". Even though the pressure while preparing for the match is high, the team showed a calm, mature exterior during the clash and went on to thump them by a colossal 203 runs. "They told me that they were in awe of the brand of cricket we were playing", revealed the proud coach.

Over time the spotlight has grown on the tournament and teams have started to plan meticulously to win the title. "For me, Manjot Kalra's knock in the final was the highlight", he said.

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