Tendulkar proud of Indian colts
Hyderabad, Aug 26: The timing was perfect. The ICC Under-19 World Cup final between Australia and India was in its final, gripping moments when the umpires called lunch on Day 4 of the Hyderabad Test, between India and New Zealand. As a result, India’s Test team got a chance to watch the next generation win a battle of nerves and skills to lift the ICC U19 World Cup. It was a rare occasion when India’s Test players gathered in front of a TV set and cheered like enthusiastic fans for a bunch of 19-year-olds.
Sachin Tendulkar, the oldest – both in age and experience – looked most chuffed. “Congratulations to India U19 team for winning the World Cup,” he said.
“We all followed your performance and it was terrific to watch you all play. Even today, we watched you from the dressing room and saw you lift that beautiful trophy. It makes all of us proud and we wish all the very best to you,” Tendulkar beamed.
For one man in the senior Indian team, this win was sort of a personal triumph. Virat Kohli had brought the Cup to India in 2008. Two years later, in 2010, he saw it being taken away by Australia. So, when Unmukt Chand, his fellow Delhi batsman and close friend, led from the front with a century to pip Australia to the post in the final, Virat’s joy knew no bounds.
“It was great watching the game in the dressing room and hats off the Unmukt for the way he batted. He showed a lot of self-belief and led from the front,” Virat said of India’s U19 captain.
“Smit Patel too batted beautifully and the bowlers did well to restrict Australia to a small target. All in all, it was a great game and a great day for the India U19 team and I’m really happy for the guys.”
However, the part that Virat enjoyed the most was the drubbing of the Aussies in their own backyard. “Winning the Cup by beating Australia in Australia – it couldn’t get better than that. It’s a very happy moment for the whole of India. I want to tell the boys to enjoy the moment to the fullest,” Virat said.
While the players were obviously proud for their juniors, Team India’s coach, Duncan Fletcher, too was pleased with what he saw. “What they have gone and done there is a fine achievement,” Fletcher said.
India’s coach also hoped that in the future, he will get to see some of those faces playing for India at the highest level. “Hopefully, someday later in their careers, they will be repeating this performance for India at the senior level. I’d just like to say once again, very, very well done.”
Besides the skills that the Indian colts showed with bat and ball, Fletcher was impressed with the character and temperament they showed right through the tournament.
“The character is very good. For them to put Australia in and then chase the target down was a very, very good effort. I’d like to congratulate everyone as it was a really good team effort. We’ve been supporting them as they moved forward in the competition,” he said.