Under-19 World Cup 2018: Shaw and Co paint fresh graffiti on the Wall

It was strange to hear the India boys refer to their coach as ‘Rahul’ after beating Australia in the U-19 World Cup final. Kids don’t call their coach by his name. But then, these boys are different,

Published: 04th February 2018 01:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th February 2018 07:13 AM   |  A+A-

In pic: Indian skipper Prithvi Shaw and U-19 and coach Rahul Dravid pose for a photo with the U-19 World Cup trophy. (Photo | Twitter)

Express News Service

MUMBAI: It was strange to hear the India boys refer to their coach as ‘Rahul’ after beating Australia in the U-19 World Cup final. Kids don’t call their coach by his name. But then, these boys are different, like the coach.

Since taking charge of the India junior teams in 2015, Rahul Dravid has seen his wards reach the U-19 World Cup twice in succession. For them, he is the mentor rather than monitor. In this role, he is ‘Rahul’, an approachable affable man, not just a le­gendary former bat­sman, called ‘The Wall’.

Life will become different for these boys after Saturday’s final in Mount Maunganui in New Zealand. After the celebrations, starts the most important phase. Of the players who won the U-19 WC 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.

Prithvi Shaw is a great talent. But for him to prosper and realise his potential, it’s important that he is left alone. Comparing him with greats at this stage will be detrimental and impede his progress. These are the words of his coach Raju Pathak.

Having coached the U-19 captain in his school days, Pathak feels ability to learn quickly sets him apart. “I’ve no doubt he will make it to Indian team. He has amazing grasp of cricket. He learns in minutes what takes others weeks,” Pathak told Express, adding that Shaw’s leadership qualities were evident since his younger days.

Commenting on Saturday’s final, Pathak felt that factors combined to make this possible. “He had a balanced team. All three departments were at their best. Moreover, they had the great Rahul Dravid as coach. All these factors came together in this victory,” Pathak said.

“Prithvi was hardly seven when I spotted him. I remember the first day when he came to us. I wanted to test him and asked him to go to the junior net. He seemed unhappy. He asked me to send him to the seniors’ net but I refused. When I saw him play, I realised my mistake and started coaching him along with seniors,” said Pathak with pride in his voice.

For Prithvi’s father Pankaj, who was a hawker, it was a memorable day although he appeared too shy to share his feelings. When news of the win broke, Pankaj’s phone started ringing. He responded to a couple but started avoiding calls after that. After great persuasion, overwhelmed by emotions, he said, “This moment is of great joy. I want him to play for the Indian team now.”

Those who know the Shaws, recall that they faced a tough time making ends meet. After the cricketer lost his mother in childhood, his father had to work hard to look after the family of three daughters and a son. Things are better now as they have moved to a house given to the player by Indian Oil Corporation. With the future promising more, Prithvi needs to keep his feet on the ground to make the most of his talent.


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