Rahul Dravid, the head coach of the India U-19 side admitted that his side is ready to take up challenges ahead of the ICC U-19 World Cup. This edition will start from January 13 in New Zealand. He further admitted his cricketers were given enough exposure and opportunities to grow in their roles.
“It’s been good (the preparations). We started the process almost a year ago in terms of identifying a core group of 35-40 kids that we wanted to give exposure to. We’ve had a few series, a couple of Asia Cups where we’ve had the opportunity to see a large group of talent, and just in the build-up to this tournament as well they’ve been playing a lot of domestic Under 19 cricket as well,” Dravid stated to icc-cricket.com.
Dravid advised BCCI to sent the team early to get used to the conditions. Indian team played three matches against Central Districts and a game against South Africa going into the main event.
Dravid didn’t had an opportunity to play the Under-19 World Cup as there was a gap of 10 years between the first event held in 1988 and the next one in 1998. However, he admitted that it is an ‘invaluable’ experience.
“We never played this tournament in my day! After 1988 they didn’t hold the tournament for 10 years, so I’ve no exposure of playing and being part of this tournament. I tell a lot of these boys that I think it’s a terrific opportunity for them to be a part of this tournament. Irrespective of if we win or lose, I think just to be part of it and experience it all is something that’s invaluable for them at this stage in their careers,” Dravid said.
Talking about his work a coach, Dravid reveals it’s more about improving the ‘mental and technical skills’ of the cricketers.
“They are really at an exciting age in their careers, the opportunities ahead of them are exciting and the future for them is bright, but there’s also a lot of uncertainty and doubt at this kind of age.
“So a lot of it is about having conversations around the mental side of the game, sharing some of my experiences of what it felt like to be a young cricketer at this stage of my career, and I think that’s the part that I find quite exciting, because having been through some of that myself it’s nice for me to just to share my experiences with them and some of the things that I’ve learned over the last 20-25 years. There is technical advice, and that’s a process as well, we have that in our camps and at various stages throughout the year,” he remarked.
Dravid further admitted that his role is to ensure that enough opportunities and exposure are given to young players.
Speaking of one lesson he wants to give to all the young cricketers in this tournament, Dravid concluded saying,
“I think the quicker you start learning about yourself and how you tick, and the quicker you start taking responsibility for the way you carry yourself as a professional cricketer both on and off the field, the better. If you want to be a successful cricketer you need to figure out yourself, both on and off the field.“
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