Venkatesh Prasad praises Rahul Dravid and BCCI for U-19 team's WC performance

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Venkatesh Prasad praises Rahul Dravid and BCCI for U-19 team's WC performance

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SportsCafe Desk


After the U-19 team's sublime performance in the ongoing U-19 World Cup, Venkatesh Prasad has praised Rahul Dravid and the BCCI for backing the players and making them capable to do better at the international level. He has also suggested senior Indian pacers to bowl more to become consistent.

Ahead of the start of the U-19 World Cup, Dravid made an appeal to the cricket fans on social media to support the U-19 Indian team. The colts have made sure that the fans have turned up owing to their brilliant performances in the tournament so far. They had started their World Cup campaign on a positive note and handed Australia a 100-run loss. In their next match, they faced Papua New Guinea and handed them a 10-wicket defeat with 252 balls remaining. The junior blue brigade maintained their winning momentum in their last group match against the Zimbabwe U-19 team and again registered a 10-wicket win. Now, the team will face Bangladesh in the quarter-finals on January 26. For the unbeaten run of the team in the tournament, former India pacer and current BCCI junior selection committee chairman Prasad praised the contribution of Dravid and the Indian cricket board.

“They are doing great. Credit to the BCCI for having an excellent structure in place for junior cricket and the coaching group with Rahul Dravid at the helm. The build-up to the tournament was perfect with a tour to England and heading to World Cup two weeks prior to the tournament helped the boys acclimatize better. Although we beat Australia comfortably, the real test starts from the knockouts. India certainly have the potential to last the distance. But I don't want to jump the gun. It's important for them to take one step at a time and I'm sure the presence of Rahul would keep the boys focused right through,” Prasad told TOI.

In three games so far, Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti claimed six and four wickets respectively and they both have made headlines in the tournament for maintaining an impressive 145 kmph bowling speed on a regular basis. Prasad believes that both young fast bowlers will definitely change new crops’ opinion to pick bowling instead of becoming a batsman.

“It's outstanding to see pacers at this age clock 145 kmph regularly. We have always been a country dominated by batsmen. But these guys are raising the bar on the bowling front. I hope they (Mavi and Nagarkoti) sustain this form and hope they will inspire the next generation of cricketers to take up pace bowling. As selectors, we not only saw potential and talent, we saw their fitness, fielding and most importantly the right attitude,” he added.

The U-19 team are showing their terrific run in New Zealand and the senior team is on the South Africa tour but the result is quite contrasting there as India already lost the three-match Test series by 0-2 with one match remaining. Team India received a lot of criticism for not continuing their winning run in the overseas but it was the bowling department who gave some relief to them. The pacers, in particular, have done really well in both games as out of 40 wicketsm 30 were taken by them. Prasad has suggested to the Indian pace battery that to maintain the momentum, they have to work harder.

“It all boils down to how consistent you are in hitting the right areas. There was a phase in India where bowlers used to hit the gym more than hitting the nets. You need to bowl more to become consistent. This group is bowling consistently in right areas. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been excellent and is consistent because he has bowled a lot in domestic cricket. I believe you can't get better with half-an- hour's bowling. You need to bowl two hours to get that consistency,” Prasad said.

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