Brace for high stakes

THE HANS INDIA |   Feb 05,2018 , 02:49 AM IST

Under-19 World Cup at New Zealand’s Mount Maunganui,
Under-19 World Cup at New Zealand’s Mount Maunganui,

By winning a record fourth Under-19 World Cup at New Zealand’s Mount Maunganui, India’s ‘Young Turks’ have demonstrated that the country is not starved off cricketing talent.  And that is the best news as far the sport is concerned, much to the delight of the administrators and selectors.

At a time when the seniors have become notoriously inconsistent, particularly the batsmen, the rise to eminence of the youngsters implies that they are ready to graduate to the highest level as most are knocking on the doors of the big league. Such has been the awesome form that they went into the championship as a firm favourite.

That they kept tryst with destiny and emerged triumphant in regal style is testimony to the fact that they have established a head-start over their peers, most of whom are certain to don their national colours in the next couple of years.

In Manjot Kalra, Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill, the team has players of caliber that can haunt the incumbent seniors, who should realise that repeated under-performances will sound the death-knell of their careers.

Of course, in this euphoric rise many of the youngsters should also be cautious that playing the seniors will be a different, and more challenging, game altogether. Unless they improve their skills and adaptability, many will flounder and cut a sorry figure on the bigger canvas.  

The case of Unmukt Chand, who was expected to be a regular in the senior team, particularly after leading the colts to the third World Cup success and playing a knock that won the country the honour, is today unsure of which Ranji team he will be representing next.

He has been a disaster if one goes by his talent as a teenager and what he is in his adulthood. Mohd Kaif emerged from the same stables but his Test success was less than impressive while gifted players like Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli have achieved what was expected of them and that too to extraordinary levels.  

The boys should take cue from the comment made by Sachin Tendulkar -Your beautiful journey has just begun. Continue to give your best and enjoy the game, above all. Indeed, that is precisely what the layers must aspire to do. Play to their strength irrespective of the opposition.

Today, the nation is going gaga over the manner Rahul Dravid mentored the bunch of youngsters into world beaters. It is certainly a big tribute to the coach in ‘The Wall’ that has helped shape India future well-being.  A good thing about the BCCI is that it continued to repose faith in Dravid and gave him a free hand in moulding a winning team, which he accomplished with a remarkable finesse. His advice to the boys is equally relevant.

When he hopes that winning the U-19 World Cup will be the only beginning of their career, Dravid has merely indicated that the future would be ridden with more fierce battles and they should develop combativeness of the highest order if they have to survive the ruthless competition.