Rahul Dravid has stated that the facilities put in place by the National Cricket Academy and their execution by the team support staff has been the main reason for U-19 World Cup success. He has also added that physios did a great job in managing injuries and making players fit for the tournament.
Ahead of the World Cup, there was no certainty regarding the availability of fast bowling duo of Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi - the pair constantly clocked 140kph during the tournament. While Nagarkoti had suffered a shoulder injury, Mavi had sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury. However, they spent three weeks at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru under the close eye of the strength and conditioning trainer Anand Date and physio Yogesh, who took care of their body and declared them fit once the team set for New Zealand. Dravid acknowledged their contribution after India secured an unprecedented fourth U-19 World Cup title, beating Australia in the final by eight wickets.
"We have had a few injuries right through the year. The way they've managed these injuries and handled players have been thoroughly professional. I've been around for a long time and seen how professional athletes are managed. These under-19 boys got the best professional help from the current team of physios and trainers here and at the NCA," Dravid told ESPNcricinfo.
"It's much-maligned unfortunately, but when you see Nagarkoti or Mavi bowl, when we congratulate ourselves, we should raise a glass to the NCA. All these boys had over the course of a year have been managed very carefully. They had a couple of injuries, but the trainers and physios worked hard with them.
Left-arm spinner Anukul Roy had to miss the Under-19 Challenger Trophy due to an ankle-related issue and was in danger of not making it to the squad. However, the team management and especially the former Indian skipper backed him to be on the plane to New Zealand. Similarly, Riyan Parag, who was the highest run-getter in the Challenger Trophy, also sustained a finger injury in India's final tour game before the World Cup. But, the team management decided to persist with them and worked hard on their fitness.
"Their health and well-being came first. We wanted them to be a part of this experience and play the World Cup. For them to have the confidence that we genuinely wanted them to do it and will go out of our way to make it possible to ensure that they played this World Cup was important," Dravid added.
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