Kolkata, Feb 3 (IANS) Hailing India’s dominant performance at the ICC U19 World Cup, former national team captain Sourav Ganguly hoped on Saturday that some of the young cricketers will go on to enjoy success with the senior squad.
Holding out Virat Kohli as an example, Ganguly said the Indian colts must aspire to emulate the current senior Indian team captain.
“It’s a fantastic achievement. They not only became champions, they dominated teams from the first game,” Ganguly told reporters on the sidelines of the foundation day celebrations of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
“I hope some of them play for India now. Virat Kohli is the biggest example. When we used to play U-19, the World Cup was not there. I remember playing against Pakistan in Bombay. Rahul Dravid has played under me,” the CAB President added.
Coached by batting legend Rahul Dravid, the Indian youngsters thrashed Australia by eight wickets in the final on Saturday to win the ICC U19 World Cup for a record fourth time.
Kohli had captained India to glory at the 2008 edition of the U-19 World Cup before going on to become one of the world’s best batsmen and India’s senior team captain.
The Boys in Blue had won every game in dominant fashion during their run to the final.
“I have maintained from the first day that the fast bowlers we have, the spinners everyone is good,” said Ganguly who was in New Zealand commentating in the first few games.
Talking about Bengal medium-pacer Ishan Porel, who took two wickets in the final and four in the semi-final against Pakistan, Ganguly said he now needs to stay fit and keep training hard.
“The gap is a bit more now. He has got to keep training hard and we will look after him at CAB. We will make sure he comes good,” Ganguly said.
“Ishan’s comeback speaks volumes about his character. He got injured after the first game and then came back brilliantly,” he added.
Porel, who played the last three knockout games despite sustaining a foot injury after India’s opening group game against Australia, is a product of the CAB’s Vision 2020 project.
Asked about the previous India U-19 World Cup winners who have failed to reach the next level, Ganguly said that is the reason projects like Vision 2020 are created.
“Vision 2020 is done to help these youngsters and bridge the gap. We have to prepare him now for the senior level. Same with everyone Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, everyone,” he said.
Ganguly added that Porel will be felicitated once he is back in town. The 19-year old is scheduled to fly to Dharamsala to take part in the domestic one dayers, the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
“Let him comeback. Will see and definitely felicitate him. My advice (to him) would be to stay fit and play well,” Ganguly said.
Meanwhile, Ganguly opined the India-South Africa ODI series would be a fascinating one and with the hosts having ianjuries to key players like skipper Faf du Plessis and AB De Villiers. India won the first rubber convincingly. There are five more matches to go.
“It will be a good series. No (Dale) Steyn, no Du Plessis, not De Villiers so it won’t be easy to beat India,” Ganguly said.