Searching for the next U-19 World Cup side

India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid wants the youngsters to be part of the system and reap benefits from the coaches and the physios to return as better cricketers.

India A and U-19 coach Rahul Dravid has started the process to identify the next group of colts who could defend the world title in 2020.   -  FILE PHOTO/M. VEDHAN

India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid said the biggest gain from the two youth Tests and quadrangular one day series was the chance to give exposure to a larger group of players and an opportunity to assess their talent and abilities.

The former India captain said there were lots of positives from the tournament. He was thrilled with the bowling department. “We almost saw close to 45 boys through the course of the four-day and one day games. The wickets were a bit challenging, so we didn’t get to see good performances with the bat but we saw some talent there as well. It is a good exciting bunch to work with in the next seven or eight months before the World Cup [U-19],’’ he said, while speaking to the media at the end of the quadrangular series.

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Dravid reasoned that the tournaments served the purpose of identifying the core group for the colts’ showpiece event. “This is the stage in the cycle where we are looking to identify players and narrow in on the top 30 to 40 kids. This is a slightly younger bunch we picked keeping the next year in mind and it was a sort of a selection tournament for them. From here, they will be going for zonal camps in summer for a month, there will be zonal tournaments, the Asia cup and then their domestic cricket after this. There is a lot of time to work to with them,” he said.

Dravid also said the U-19 tournaments could be used to make players for domestic cricket.

“We wanted to expose more and more on players to this level. I'm not very keen on zeroing down on fewer numbers very quickly. We want more people to feel they are part of the system and get the benefit of the system; working with the coaches, the physios and I think that builds a much broader pool. Even if they don't play the World Cup, they can go back as better players and get into first class teams for their respective states,” he laid out the plan.