How India braved the odds to win U-19 World Cup?

We look at a brief sequence of events on how India won the U-19 World Cup by overcoming all the odds.

India U-19 team won their fifth World Cup (Courtesy: ICC/Twitter)
By Samrat Chakraborty | Feb 6, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

How long does it take to build a champion team? One would wonder. Sometimes it’s an entire Olympic cycle or decades of hard work that goes behind making a champion. But the extremely talented lot of India U-19 World Cup champions was brought together in a span of only three months. The result: Not only did they conquer the world and proved their individual prowess but also overcame Covid-19 situation and months of staying inside the tricky bio-bubble environment to etch their name in history. We have a look at the brief sequence of events on how the India U-19 team was brought together and they remained unbeaten throughout the junior World Cup to bring home the prestigious prize for a record fifth time. 

No junior selection panel till September end

Till September 27, India did not have a junior selection panel in place. But in a brief time of three months, the panel led by S Sharath and well supported by Pathik Patel, Ranadeb Bose, Kishan Mohan and Harvinder Singh Sodhi built a U-19 World Cup winning squad. 

The major challenge was finding a proper wicket-keeper batter and Dinesh Bana was not even the first-choice for his state team Haryana. But thanks to his six-hitting prowess, the selectors showed faith in him and he delivered. 

India U-19 team’s lower-order — No. 7, 8, 9 — also played crucial roles in their run to the World Cup triumph. They were short-listed from a lot of multi-dimensional players. 

Crucial advice from Rahul Dravid

India head coach Rahul Dravid was, then, serving as the head of NCA. He advised the selection panel to have a six-team challenger and it worked to shortlist 30 players. 

The tri-series between India A, India B and Bangladesh also brought forward the loopholes in the side which could be looked upon and with further help from the NCA, the players’ pool was narrowed down. 

READ MORE: Raj Bawa, Shaik Rasheed and their starring role in India’s ICC U-19 World Cup win

Important roles from VVS Laxman and Hrishikesh Kanitkar

India Test great VVS Laxman, later, took on the charge of NCA and with some internal meetings and his guidance it became easier to look at a proper team combination. 

Head coach Hrishikesh Kantikar also had crucial inputs to build-up a formidable side. 

Hit by Covid-19 

But the problems didn’t end for India even at the U-19 World Cup as six players including captain Yash Dhull and his deputy were tested positive for Covid-19. But even, then, a depleted Indian side took on the challenge and remained unbeaten in their run up to reaching the summit. 

It now remains to be seen whether the proven talents will be fast-tracked to the senior team or a different process awaits their fate. But whatever happens from here now, the teenagers have earned their glory, which no one can take away from them and they deserve to be celebrated and cherished for a lifetime.