India U-19 coach hails his bowlers after Asia Cup win

Indian U-19 coach Paras Mhambrey said that his team's plan was to pile early pressure on Bangladesh as it defended a small total of 106 runs to win the Asia Cup.

The U-19 Asian Cup was Paras Mhambrey's first assignment as a chief coach.   -  B. Jothi Ramanlingam

Paras Mhambrey has been associated with the India A and U-19 teams for long as a member of the coaching staff. The U-19 Asia Cup is the former Mumbai cricketer's first assignment as a head coach which proved to be fruitful as India colts clinched the title by defeating Bangladesh in the final on Saturday.

Mhambrey was pleased by the way his team won at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo as it bowled out Bangladesh for 101 runs to win by five runs.

"It's a good start. I am quite happy with the way the boys played," Mhambrey told Sportstar on Sunday.

"Winning is one bit of it -- the way we won the final was fabulous. From the position where we were in, the bowlers did a fabulous job," Mhambrey said, heaping praises on the bowlers, who successfully defended the total of 106.

With the U-19 World Cup lined up next year, the team's objective was to come up with a proper strategy. "We wanted to try different combinations. We wanted to see different players. This was an opportunity to see the set of players," Mhambrey said.

READ | U19 Asia Cup Final: India pips Bangladesh in low-scoring thriller

However, the side which travelled to England last month was different from this unit. "We had different set of players here. In terms of temperament, it was a chance to see how this guys respond under pressure. A lot of things were achieved for us. In that sense, it was a very positive tour," the seasoned coach said.

Despite a batting failure, India managed to bounce back in the game. So, what was the message in the dressing room during the innings break?

"We obviously did not get the total we wanted. The discussion all of us had in the dressing room was to go out and doing our best. We had to forget what had gone wrong and we had to focus on the job at hand," he said. The idea was to pick up a couple of wickets and put the pressure on Bangladesh. That's exactly what happened.

"Pressure is funny. Different people respond differently under pressure. We thought let's put the pressure early and then see how the game progresses."

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The start was brilliant with Akash Singh picking up early wickets. "In the first 10 overs, we picked four wickets. In that sense, the pressure was on Bangladesh. Those were the totals where you didn't know whether to attack or be defensive. Bangladesh got caught in between. They lost wickets and our bowlers did really well," the coach said.

"The best part is when you have four or five bowlers, one can have an off day. This was kind of a game where all the bowlers had their day. Everyone contributed."

Now that one battle is won, Mhambrey wants to take a look at the players and slowly demarcate them according to the positions. "We can monitor a lot in terms of fitness and recovery. That's what we will do, leading to the World Cup," Mhambrey said.

First battle won, the colts already have their eyes set on next year's U-19 World Cup, to be held in South Africa.