02/03/2008 will remain a special day in the history of Indian cricket. Cricket fans will remember this day for the triumph of India’s youth but also for the triumph of the little master Sachin Tendulkar who struck a matchwinning century to help India go 1-0 in the finals.
It was a pleasure to see the commitment and consistency of India’s youngsters in this U-19 tournament. The way the Indians defended a small total was admirable as they worked according to an effective gameplan and didn’t let SA dominate them at any stage of SA’s batting.
Three of the top five highest scoring batsmen of the tournament were Indians. TM Srivastava, V Kohli and T Kohli averaged 52, 47 and 44 respectively. All the 3 batsmen were consistent, confident and dominating. India were not as brilliant in their bowling in this tournament, but this was expected. Nonetheless, I Abdulla, R Jadeja and S Kaul stood out; Abdulla and Jadeja averaging 13 with the ball and Kaul averaging 15. When you calculate the bowling strike rates of the 3 bowlers, they on average took a wicket every 23 balls, which is excellent.
What was more impressive was how the whole team reacted in pressure situations, backed each other and remained focused in their goal. Yes, it is true that team friction/team politics isn’t something commonly associated with U-19 players, but this Indian team still stood out as a disciplined and united unit.
Special mention has to be made for Virat Kohli and his inspiring captaincy. He remained positive throughout the tournament and seemed like a great motivator on the field. He played with passion, self belief and confidence and made sure he filtered these qualities across the whole team.
The forthcoming dilemmas for the BCCI Selection Committee mentioned in the previous thread are likely to exacerbate now owing to this wonderful performance by these young men. Virat Kohli and TM Srivastava can surely be tested at Test level now. However, there are some youngsters in the squad like Rohit Sharma who are already performing remarkably, and this is exactly what is going to cause a headache for the selectors!
It has been mentioned a few times on this site already that every team experiences a golden era, or every tide will have an ebb. Today was a special day for India, and although this isn’t exactly the start of the calender year, India will look to carry this momentum throughout the remainder of the year. No one can predict the future, and we don’t know when (if at all) India’s tide will face an ebb, as it did in the mid to late 1990’s. Hence, rather than thinking about tomorrow, let us think about today. Today was a moment of glory, a moment of triumph and a moment of utter supremacy for this cricket loving nation with more than a billion people. Glory is glory at the end of the day, and today India holds its head high in this glory. Let us all enjoy and appreciate this glory while it lasts, for it would be unreasonable for us to do otherwise.