In September-end, the Board of Control for Cricket in India was yet to put together a team for the Under-19 World Cup. Racing against time and limited matches, the selection committee led by S Sharath put together a team that brought home its fifth Under-19 World Cup title on Sunday, defeating England in the final. In an exclusive interview with TNIE, Sharath reveals how his team which includes Pathik Patel, Ranadeb Bose, Kishan Mohan, and Harvinder Singh Sodhi built a title-winning unit. It is not an easy victory by any means.
As you know the last couple of years have been extremely hard on everyone because of the pandemic, and the team has given something to smile about by winning Asia Cup and World Cup. I need to thank the BCCI for appointing me and the team and getting the job done. They gave us everything we asked. Be it secretary Jay Shah or president Sourav Ganguly, they gave the team whatever preparation the team wanted. It was not an easy thing to do. Because of the pandemic, we couldn’t play one entire season and had very little time and few matches to prepare.
We had to build a new team in three months and it took a lot of effort from all of us – selectors, coaches, NCA. We had to be on the same page to get the right combination. We had multi-dimensional players. The crucial roles played by the lower-order No 7, 8, 9 (make us) feel good because we wanted bowlers who could bat. It actually tilted the games in our favor. Even though we had a strong batting line-up, the lower-order stepped up whenever the team needed it. That is the beauty of this team. We looked and picked multi-dimensional players because they are always precious. It was an enormous task given the talent pool we have.
Yash Dhull was named as the captain of the ICC Men’s U19 World Cup Team of the Tournament, a day after India won a record-extending 5th trophy in Antigua. Yash-led India defeated England by 4 wickets in the final to win the trophy on Saturday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. As many as 3 Indians have made it to the U19 World Cup Team of the Tournament, announced by the ICC on Sunday. Apart from Yash, who is captaining the team, left-spinner Vicky Oswal and all-rounder Raj Bawa are also part of the team.
While Oswal topped the bowling charts for India with 12 wickets, Bawa hit 252 runs in 6 matches, including the highest score in the tournament- 162 against Uganda. On Saturday, Bawa shone in the final, picking up a 5-wicket haul, thereby becoming the first Indian man to do so in the final of an ICC Tournament. On the other hand, Yash Dhull, who missed 2 matches due to Covid-19, finished with 229 runs in 4 matches. He shone in the semi-final, hitting a match-winning 110 against Australia.
Overall, eight nations are represented in the 12-strong lineup as champions India lead the way with three players included. The pace is provided by the likes of Josh Boyden, Awais Ali, and Ripon Mondol with all-rounders Tom Prest and Dunith Wellalage the spin options alongside Vicky Ostwal. South Africa’s Dewald Brevis was announced as the Player of the Tournament for the ICC Under 19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2022 in the West Indies for his record-breaking run haul. The side was pulled together by a selection panel including commentators Samuel Badree, Natalie Germanos, ICC Match Referee Graeme Labrooy, and journalist Sandipan Banerjee.