India U19 Image: PTI
India U19 Image: PTI

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Hrishikesh Kanitkar says his side would set short targets when it competes at the Under-19 World Cup, where the past Indian teams have created a rich legacy. The under-19 World Cup begins in the West Indies on Friday and India kick-off its campaign with a match against South Africa on Saturday.

ICC U19 World Cup 2022 is all set to kickstart on January 14, 2022. The venue of the tournament is West Indies. A total of 16 teams are part of it. These 16 teams are divided into 4 groups of 4 teams each. A total of 48 ODI matches will take place during ICC U19 World Cup 2022 and multiple games are scheduled to be played each day. There are 4 groups in ICC U19 World Cup 2022- A, B, C, and D.

U19 World Cup Trophy. Photo- ICC
U19 World Cup Trophy. Photo- ICC

Hrishikesh Kanitkar: One Have To Start Afresh Despite India’s History Of Winning U19 World Cup 4 Times

Bangladesh, Canada, England, and UAE are part of group A. India, Ireland, South Africa, and Uganda are part of group B. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea (PNG), and Zimbabwe are part of group C. Australia, Scotland, Sri Lanka and West Indies are part of group D.

“There is a huge legacy since India has done so well in this tournament. It doesn’t help that we have won four times. There is a new team, so you have to start afresh,” Hrishikesh Kanitkar said during an online media interaction ahead of the marquee event.

“We don’t want to look too far ahead at things like the IPL auction and the Ranji Trophy. What we need to do is to just focus on what we can do in this tournament. We, as a coaching unit, keep them focussed on what they can do in the short term,” Hrishikesh Kanitkar added.

Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who represented India in 2 Tests and 34 ODIs in his three-year-long international career, will always be remembered for his match-winning boundary against Saqlain Mushtaq in the side’s memorable win over Pakistan at Dhaka in January 1998. India then required three runs to win from two balls, in fading light as the winning four enabled them to post a memorable victory over the arch-rivals in Dhaka, chasing a 300-plus target.

Asked about playing under difficult circumstances as players are being forced to stay in bio-bubbles, the former India cricketer said it is better to get used to it.

“Yes….it is a challenge. What we need to realize is that this is the norm now. It is better to get used to it. It is the reality now, staying in the bubble, The boys will be able to learn from this, after this World Cup also, when they need to stay in bubbles, they will be up for it,” Hrishikesh Kanitkar said.

Hrishikesh Kanitkar is remembered for his heroics in the final match of the Independence Cup against Pakistan in 1998 © Getty Images Hrishikesh Kanitkar is remembered for his heroics in the final match of the Independence Cup against Pakistan in 1998 © Twitter (Amit Verma)
Hrishikesh Kanitkar is remembered for his heroics in the final match of the Independence Cup against Pakistan in 1998 © Getty Images

The Indians head into the Under-19 World Cup with a victory in the under-19 Asia Cup and the head coach said it was of great help as the team got to play together.

“It is important because we had not played together as a team. For us, it was important in terms of team building and getting matches under our belt. It has been of great help,” Hrishikesh Kanitkar said of the win in the U-19 Asia Cup.

The coach emphasized that the team had good fast bowling all-rounders with Rajvardhan Hangargekar of Maharashtra developing well.

“It augurs well for the future. The talent is there…it is about grooming and handling them well. Rajvardhan is a really exciting prospect and bowls at a fair clip. He has a good yorker and a bouncer and he is not a bad batsman. You will find that out in the tournament. He is keen to do well for the team. These are good signs,” he said.

New Zealand decided to withdraw from the tournament owing to “extensive mandatory quarantine restrictions for minors on their return home”, because of Covid-19. Bangladesh beat India to win the Under-19 World Cup in 2020. It was their first World Cup win at any level.

India, they have won the title four times – in 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2018 – and has a win percentage of 76.83. Australia has won the tournament thrice, in 1998, 2002, and 2010, while Pakistan has clinched the title twice, in 2004 and 2006. Bangladesh (2020), South Africa (2014), West Indies (2016) and England (1998) have won the tournament once each.

Hrishikesh Kanitkar Feels Yash Dhull Can Do Justice To The Job Of Captain

Asked what went in favour of Yash Dhull that he got the captaincy, Hrishikesh Kanitkar said he had the respect of the players which was important.

“The primary quality is to have respect from the players. I think that is what he has, the respect of the team. He is able to take tough calls. Every time, especially while fielding, he can’t be told to do things, he needs to make his decisions. He is up to it. I think his instincts are tuned fine and think he can do justice to the job,” Hrishikesh Kanitkar added.

Yash Dhull Image Source: Google
Yash Dhull Image Source: Google

The Indian under-19 captain Yash Dhull, who looks up to the Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli, felt it was important to take it game by game.

“The morale in the team was good. It is important to take it game by game and see how to improve game by game. We will keep our intent and take it as it comes,” he said.

About the interactions, the team had with the legendary VVS Laxman, who heads the NCA now and India’s white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma, Dhull said, “They told us about their experiences and that will surely help us in the tournament ahead.”

The Indian under-19 skipper said the pitches in West Indies were on the slower side.

India: Yash Dhull (c), Harnoor Singh, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, SK Rasheed (vc), Nishant Sindhu, Siddarth Yadav, Aneeshwar Gautam, Dinesh Bana, Aaradhya Yadav, Raj Angad Bawa, Manav Parakh, Kaushal Tambe, RS Hangargekar, Vasu Vats, Vicky Ostwal, Ravikumar, Garv Sangwan.