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'Could have restricted Australia to 220-230', says Hrishikesh Kanitkar after U19 WC final loss

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'Could have restricted Australia to 220-230', says Hrishikesh Kanitkar after U19 WC final loss

Benoni, Feb 12 (Ajit Weekly News) India head coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar admitted that his team could have restricted Australia to around 220-230 in the Men’s U19 World Cup final, which they lost by 79 runs. He added that despite finishing runners-up, the future is indeed bright for Indian cricket via the scintillating performances from the youngsters.

Both India and Australia were unbeaten throughout the competition ahead of the title clash on Sunday. Australia posted 253/8 in their 50 overs, thanks to a half-century from Harjas Singh and other notable contributors being Harry Dixon, captain Hugh Weibgen, and Oliver Peake.

In reply, India, the defending champions, suffered an early collapse to be left in trouble at 68/4 in the 20th over. Left-handed opener Adarsh Singh (47) and lower-order batting all-rounder Murugan Abhishek (42) put up some resistance, but it wasn’t enough as India were bowled out for 174 in 43.5 overs.

“We were looking to put up a better performance, but it didn’t happen unfortunately. But the boys have done the best they could. Australia played a good game and were spot on with their batting, bowling and fielding to be the winners today.

“I was fine with the toss because the pitch was pretty fair, batting first or second. It was possible to get that total. We were happy with the pitch and I think we could have batted better. We should have show a bit more of fight, but Australia batted and bowled well, and were one up this time.

“We could have restricted them to around 220-230, if we had bowled the way we would have liked. But this is bound to happen at some point – you try your best and sometimes it doesn’t come out in the way you want to. That’s when the batting has to step up and score the extra runs, but it didn’t happen unfortunately,” said Kanitkar in the post-match press conference.

In their dominant campaign which came to a halt in the final, India showed that they have talented players who can potentially graduate to the senior level. Captain Uday Saharan finished as the leading run-getter of the competition, amassing 397 runs in seven games at an average of 56.71, including a century and three fifties.

All-rounder Musheer Khan amassed 360 runs with two centuries and a fifty, while Sachin Dhas impressed everyone with his gritty counter-attacking knocks. Left-arm spinner Saumy Pandey ended as the team’s leading wicket-taker with 18 scalps, while Adarsh, pacer Raj Limbani and all-rounder Arshin Kulkarni shined with their performances in the competition.

“It is, definitely (the future of Indian cricket is very bright). As a bowling side and as a batting side, there have been stand out performances from quite a few players. They have shown maturity in tough situations and that bodes well for Indian cricket going forward.

“For the coaching staff, it was a fabulous experience. You get to work with so many youngsters and influence them in a positive way going forward. For the players as well, it has been a fabulous experience and a great journey,” added Kanitkar.

Talking about the way forward for the youngsters in Indian cricket ecosystem, Kanitkar said, “Everything is highlighted, these performances matter, they are under the scanner all the time and they get used to these situations. They know what to expect now going forward and are better prepared when they play higher cricket.”

“Their performances will be analysed. They will now go towards their state teams and play various age-group cricket games, where their performances will be seen and this also (performance at U19 World Cup) will be considered. Plus, there will be camps at National Cricket Academy (NCA) and stuff like that, so we will take them through these steps and if they keep doing well, they can go up higher.

“Every time there are a couple of guys who step up either in the IPL or for the Indian team. I’m sure there will be a couple at least, but there is such great competition back home. They have learnt what they need to do and now taking it forward, it’s up to them and on all of us over how we groom them.”

–Ajit Weekly News

nr/bc


News Credits – I A N S

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