National Cricket Academy (NCA) head and former India batter V. V. S. Laxman lauded the BCCI for running a world-class youth structure and organising competitive age-group tournaments after the Indian U-19 team clinched its fifth World Cup title.
India beat England by four wickets in the final on Saturday .
“I think the BCCI has to be complemented. The number of matches and tournaments each age group level gets to play, whether U-16, U-19 or U-23... unfortunately due to COVID-19 they didn’t get to play any tournament and that’s why I think this tournament win is very special,” Laxman who is with the team in the Caribbean, said after the victory.
“Firstly, huge congratulations to the selection committee. It was a new selection committee and quite challenging for them to identify this group. After that, the coaching staff with Hrishikesh (Kanitkar) as the head coach, Sai Raj, Munish, and all the support staff. The way they got this group together, they worked really hard, won the Asia Cup and the preparation for this World Cup was fantastic. But in the middle of this tournament, we all know what happened to the boys. To test positive (for COVID-19) but show the kind of resilience and positive attitude was exemplary,” Laxman observed.
He termed the title triumph only a start of a journey for the team’s players.
“It’s important but this is just a learning process and just the start of their journey. Everyone in this group understands that. This is about development as players and as a person and it's great to see how they have developed and evolved over the last couple of months.”
India captain Yash Dhull said the World Cup win was a proud moment for the country.
“Proud moment for India, that we have managed to achieve this. It was difficult at the start to get the combination right. But as time went we became a family and the team atmosphere was good. Great moment to be playing under this lot of support staff,” Dhull said after taking a lap of honour along with his team-mates.
Head coach Kanitkar praised Dhull for his leadership. “It’s too exciting for my good, but happy with the result. I think we learned a lot from this. We were looking to bat as well. There was a little bit of moisture. [Dhull] led them very well. He has a very good head on his shoulders. I think it’s a fabulous competition, getting this stage to perform at this young age, for all teams. It’s a great opportunity to showcase talent and for the academies around the world,” Kanitkar said.
Reflecting on the final, England captain Tom Prest said his team would have wanted a better start after choosing to bat. The team was reduced to 91 for 7 and it ultimately managed to post 189, a fighting total but enough.
“Choosing to bat first, we’d have liked a better start, but the way James Rew then batted to get his 95, deserved a hundred. We got to a score where we thought we were in the game with and gave it a crack,” Prest said.
“We’ve got a strong bowling attack and taking a wicket in the first over got the mood up and got the confidence going. They (India) obviously batted really well. They had a couple of great partnerships, so credit to them.”