Coach Dravid impressed with his wards

"The best thing about this group is their attitude and the willingness to learn," said the former Indian captain, who has been given the onus of shaping up the future stars of India by the BCCI a few months ago. "This was a very good tournament for us as we have started our preparations for the World Cup."

Indian U-19 Coach Rahul Dravid with Man of the match Sarfaraz Khan (left) and man of the series Rishab Pant (R) after the U-19 team won the tri series final against Bangladesh, in Kolkata, on Sunday.   -  PTI

The Indian junior (under-19) team that won the one-day tri-series under the guidance of one of the finest cricketers of India, Rahul Dravid, showcased a few talents, who have the flourish and the flair to make it to the big stage in the future.

“The best thing about this group is their attitude and the willingness to learn,” said the former Indian captain, who has been given the onus of shaping up the future stars of India by the BCCI a few months ago. “This was a very good tournament for us as we have started our preparations for the World Cup.”

The biennial event is scheduled in Bangladesh early next year.

Dravid’s conviction was propped by the performances of Rishabh Pant, Sarfaraz Khan, M. S. Washington Sundar, Avesh Khan, Zeeshan Ansari, who made notable contributions, either with the bat or with the ball, helping India to the title with an all-win record.

“We are very close to identifying the core,” Dravid said about the final team that will represent the country in the World Cup. India will travel to Sri Lanka later this week to play another tri-series, where England will be the third team.

Rishabh Pant was the most prolific with the bat, scoring two half-centuries and a century in four innings. He aggregated 282 runs and was the highest scorer of the tournament. The stylish left-hander impressed with his stroke-making and the ability to play pacers and spinners with equal felicity. Washington Sundar, Pant’s opening partner, who bats left handed and bowls off-spinners, provided the balance to Pant’s aggression with his calmness. At 16, Sundar is a couple of years younger to most of his team-mates, but impressed with his maturity that put him at an equal footing with others.

A middle order batsman, Sarfaraz Khan is the other accomplished all-rounder, who is a fantastic hitter and a smart off-spinner. Both Pant and Khan are playing first-class cricket with regularity and Dravid thinks the two have the ‘X-Factor’ to shine in the future. “There are many ‘X-Factors’ in the team as the boys are quite talented but they (Pant and Khan) are definitely two of them,” Dravid said.

Avesh Khan, who almost single-handedly took apart the Bangladesh batting in the opening match of the tournament, impressed with his pace and his aggressive attitude. Avesh, captain Ricky Bhui and Sarfaraz are the three who were part of the team that played the 2014 World Cup in Dubai.

Dravid said his job as a coach is to nurture the colts and allow them to enjoy the game while learning. “Not every junior player will go on to play for the country. It is our duty to help them improve as cricketers. Hopefully, they will have good first-class careers and some of them will graduate to the national side,” Dravid said.