Sabyasachi Bagchi, Kolkata: Under 19 World Cup will start from January 13 and India will face mighty Australia on January 14. India is in great form as they defeated South Africa U-19 team in a practice match. www.xtratime.in talked to Mohammad Kaif, Ritender Singh Sodhi, Ajay Ratra and Unmukt Chand who were the alumni of this tournament. They shared their greetings and advise to Rahul Dravid’s men.
Mohammad Kaif: We defeated Sri Lanka in the finals in 2000 and I was the skipper of the side. In this 18 years cricket has changed a lot. Many players from our generation played in this stage but, some of them got chance to wear the India shirt. I will advise them to play good cricket and enjoy playing. They have Rahul Dravid as the coach and this is a very passive sign for Indian cricket as Rahul knows how to adjust in the Kiwi conditions. Surely he had a chat with the players and I am very optimistic about this team’s success.
Ritender Singh Sodhi: I worked as a match referee not only in the Ranji Trophy matches but also in some U-16 and U-19 matches too. I have seen most of them to play the best thing is many of them had played in the Ranji trophy and that made them stronger mentally. They also played matches together for last one year and this is another positive sign for this team.
Ajay Ratra: Keeping in mind about the capabilities of other teams, India have every resource to be the champions but, whatever they can achieve, only few of them will get chance to play in the senior team. That happened to us and it will remain the same as well. I was also in the squad of World Cup wining side in 2000. I played few tests and ODIs’ for team India but failed to succeed. I left behind Mahendra Singh Dhoni to play in this big stage but, and we all know what Dhoni achieved today. So, my advice is not to think about future play your natural game and don’t take pressure.
Unmukt Chand: Time will tell what this team can achieve and India have to face Australia in the first match. It’s very good to play against a strong opponent especially in the very first match. The young brigade is mentally strong and spirited as they have Prithvi Shaw, Shubham Gill and Himanshu Rana who had a good batting record and Ishan, Akashdeep Singh have potential to bowl well in the New Zealand conditions. My greetings to the team for their success.