Rahul Dravid has claimed that the U-19 team is eagerly waiting to show their talent and prove their ability in the Under-19 World Cup and urged the fans to showcase their support. The team will open their campaign by playing against Australia in their campaign opener at the Bay Oval.
In the first warm-up match, the Indian colts beat South Africa in Christchurch by a whopping margin of 189 runs. The win definitely boosted Indian players’ morale for the tournament that begins on January 13. A day after the win, the U-19 team coach took social media to appeal the fans for their support during their campaign.
“The Indian U19 team is very keen to show you the talent and the ability that they have,” he said.
"It's been good (the preparations). We started the process almost a year ago in terms of identifying a core group of 35-40 kids that we wanted to give exposure to. We've had a few series, a couple of Asia Cups where we've had the opportunity to see a large group of talent, and just in the build-up to this tournament as well they've been playing a lot of domestic Under 19 cricket as well."
"We've been here for a week before the start of the tournament, played three good games against Central Districts. We feel happy and we feel that we've given the boys enough exposure and opportunities to grow," he was quoted as saying by ICC's official website.
The senior team India is busy in playing Test series against South Africa, but the 44-year old was confident that the fans will support the young players during the World Cup.
“We know you’ll be watching us and we know you’ll be supporting the boys all the way. Thank you very much,” the former right-hand batsman said.
Dravid didn't play the Under-19 World Cup because there was a huge gap of 10 years between the first event held in 1988 and the next one in 1998. However, the former India captain was a part of the India Under-19 set-up during the early 1990s. But ahead of the 2018 edition, Dravid stated that the chance to be a part of the Under -19 World Cup as an 'invaluable' experience.
"We never played this tournament in my day! After 1988 they didn't hold the tournament for 10 years, so I've no exposure
The team, which is being led by Prithvi Shaw, posted 332 in allotted 50 overs against South Africa in the practice tie. In response, the Proteas managed only 143 runs thanks to Ishan Porel who claimed four wickets in his eight overs and conceded only 24 runs.
India, who won the trophy thrice, will begin their campaign on January 14 in a Pool B match against Australia U-19 team. On January 16, India will play against Papua New Guinea and the blue brigade will play their third and final group match on next Friday.