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Important for associations to recognize the players’ talent: Venkatesh Prasad

Venkatesh Prasad, India U19, Prithvi Shaw
Venkatesh Prasad serves India as a premium pacer. Photo Credit: Web

The India Under-19 team won the ICC Youth ODI World Cup in New Zealand 10 days ago. However, the celebrations have continued for some of the young boys. The former Indian fast bowler Venkatesh Prasad has done a lot of hard work behind the scene but has not received the due credit.

Prasad, who heads the junior selection committee, has got back-to-work and feels it is very important that the U19 cricketers are being monitored properly. He also added that youngsters are still work in progress.

Venkatesh Prasad, Rahul Dravid, India U19, ICC Youth ODI World Cup

India U19 was indomitable in New Zealand. Photo Credit: Getty Images

The rising stars received great appreciation from all over the country. Moreover, the huge expectations lay over their shoulders to carry this performance – to the senior level in the foreseeable future.

A lot of the credit for the success of the Indian colts should be given to the staff who have motivated the boys to win the coveted title for the fourth time.

Venkatesh Prasad, Rahul Dravid, India U19, ICC Youth ODI World Cup

Rahul Dravid worked hard as Venkatesh Prasad watched over the proceedings. Photo Credit: Getty Images

India’s coach Rahul Dravid should be given a lot of credit for the success. He has been with the boys for almost 18 months, as Prasad played a pivotal role.

Here’s the thread of Venkatesh Prasad’s interview with Cricbuzz:

You travelled the length and breadth of the country scouting for players, how does it feel when the efforts have resulted in such a big a win?

It is satisfying yes, but otherwise, I don’t know. As chairman of selectors, I didn’t go for the 2016 or 2018 World Cups. What is important is to ensure you identify the right set of players, who work with honesty and dedication. That’s what I wanted to do. Even if we had lost, I would have been ok because I believe we have put together the best team.

Of course, there were another 10 players who could have also played a part if given a chance, but we could pick only 15 in the team.

What were the challenges for the selectors?

The challenges are huge, in junior cricket no one player plays for a long period of time. The team combinations keep changing because there is a lot of emphasis placed on results from coaches and the state associations. It’s quite a nightmare actually, keeping tab.

Also with the three-member committee – Gyanendra Pandey, Rakesh Parikh and I – travelling the length and breadth of the country, watching as many tournaments as possible in varying conditions, it is extremely challenging. That said, we enjoyed it.

Venkatesh Prasad, Rahul Dravid, India U19, ICC Youth ODI World Cup

Venkatesh Prasad played alongside Rahul Dravid. Photo Credit: AFP

Did Dravid and you have arguments and difference of opinions?

Of course, we did. We didn’t agree on everything. He had his views and vice versa. We had a lot of discussions and both of us knew we were talking and debating for the greater good of the game. We also respected each other’s point of view.

What do you think is the future of these players?

It is important for associations to recognize the players’ talent and take them to the next level. When the national selection committee has identified them as future cricketers, the associations need to take the cue and understand how they fit into their team’s scheme of things. Whether they go to the U-23 teams or the senior state squad, should also be factored in.

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