CHENNAI: Hundred runs, 10 wickets, 10 wickets, 131 runs, 203 runs, eight wickets. These margins are more than enough to say that Rahul Dravid’s wards have shown tremendous superiority each time they have stepped out onto the field over the last fortnight.
Apart from wowing pundits and fans with lightning speed, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi constituted the Boys in Blue’s pace bulwark. Eighteen scalps at a collective average, strike-rate, and economy of 17.61, 27.78, and 3.80 is enough to lend credence to that. When the injured Ishan Porel was sidelined for two matches, Arshdeep Singh stepped up to be the perfect foil for the speedster duo. When Porel returned to claim his place from the left-armer, he didn’t let the baton slip from his hand with his match-winning 4/17-against Pakistan in the semis.
Coupled with the left-arm orthodox Anukul Roy (14 scalps, joint-highest), India’s bowling unit assumed the potency of a well-oiled V8 engine, each firing of pistons propelling the juggernaut.
The willow-wielders tread the same narrative. Shubman Gill and his red handkerchief were witness to 372 runs (second-highest) at a staggering average of 124, not to mention a match-winning century that won kudos from many a Pakistan player despite their loss.
He wasn’t their sole hero. When Gill was felled by a Param Uppal off-break in the final, Manjot Kalra shouldered responsibility with aplomb, crafting a gumption-laden ton to ensure that India were the ones uncorking the champagne bottles. So did Shaw throughout the tournament, each of his 261 runs laying the foundation for his team up front.
Saturday wasn’t just about India making another addition to their silverware—it was the culmination of a stellar run that has announced their arrival on the global stage, and the beginning of what seems a bright future when they become men.
After the celebrations starts the most important phase. Of the players who won under-19 World Cups in the past, only a handful made it big at the senior level. With Dravid at the helm, this bunch has a man who can teach how this transition phase should be handled.