We’re high on confidence: Chand
Mumbai, Aug 3: Drawing confidence from their success over the last year, the India Under-19 team are looking forward to the ICC Under-19 World Cup to be held between August 11 and 26 in Queensland, Australia.
The team has had two last-minute changes; Ravi Kant Singh replaces the dengue-hit Mohsin Sayyed and Hanuman Vihari Gad comes in to replace injured opener Manan Vohara.
Captain Unmukt Chand, coach Bharat Arun and manager Vinod Phadke addressed the press in Mumbai ahead of the big tournament.
Excerpts from the press conference:
On the season so far
We have played three tournaments so far and winning them has been really good for us. We are going to this tournament with a lot of confidence. Having played in Australia before, in the same conditions, will definitely help us. The Asia Cup also was a really good tournament for us to reflect on our performances.
On interacting with Sachin Tendulkar
It was a really good interaction with Sachin [Tendulkar]. He gave us a lot of positive feedback and he shared some of the experiences he has had in [the last] twenty years. We spoke to him about the [ICC U19] World Cup; he has had a successful campaign. He spoke about the pressure and handling it. He told us to be ourselves on the field and not to worry about [things]. He also told us about some of the things that we needed to work on, so that was really good for us.
On the ICC U19 World Cup ahead
This is a new experience and a new tournament for us. We are not thinking about what we have done earlier or what we have achieved. It is a new [tournament] for us and we are taking it as a new stepping-stone in our career. We want to do well for [ourselves] and for our country.
On his experience in the Ranji and Delhi Daredevils teams
You interact with a lot of players and share [experiences] with them [and that] helps us. Staying with them in itself is a very different experience. I played in the IPL and so have stayed with [senior] players for two months; you get to learn about things both on and off the field. Their routines and their work ethic – all of that helps [us].
On his role as the team captain
I am the captain of the team only on the field. When it comes to batting, I am only a batsman. I don’t want myself to [feel any pressure] because of captaincy [...] When I am fielding, I take decisions on the field. I just take decisions; [that apart] everyone knows their role. When I am batting I am a batsman and when we are fielding I am the captain.
On the preceding tournaments being good preparation for the ICC U19 World Cup
Obviously, it has been well spaced out. We started off with the quadrangular series in India, followed by one in Australia three months ago. Also, the fact that we have played a series on the same grounds that we are going to play on now is an added advantage. The [well-timed] Asia Cup has been excellent preparation.
On having played together as a team for some time now
It helps the team. [You] get out there and the relationship is built over a period of time. Being together for a year helps each one understand the other, and not only on the field.
On whether the team was over-reliant on Chand
Unmukt has been brilliant but there have also been other consistently performing members in the team. They have also chipped in. The team was outstanding and [it’s been a] whole team effort so far.
On whether the conditions favoured fast bowlers
The conditions in Australia are pretty good for the spinners […] and fast bowlers pretty much equally. The fact that we have played there before [helps]. Three months ago we had a quadrangular series on the same ground that we have played on so we can use that experience to our advantage.
On being asked to pick the team to beat
Every game is important. We are not looking at the opposition. We have played most of the countries in the last one year, except South Africa. W can draw a lot of confidence from the fact that we have beaten all of these teams in the last one year. The first thing we learn is to respect the opposition and we look at it that way.