India confident of doing well in U-19 World Cup: Sarfaraz Khan

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Mumbai, Jan 15 (IANS) With the Under-19 cricket World Cup due to start on January 27, promising batsman Sarfaraz Khan believes that under the guidance of coach and batting legend Rahul Dravid, the Indian team will come out with flying colours in Bangladesh.

In December 2015, Sarfaraz was named in the 15- member India squad for the World Cup with Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan named as captain.

Kishan had recently led India to a series win in an U-19 tri-nation tournament also involving Sri Lanka and England, in Sri Lanka. Two weeks before that, India won another tri-nation event, beating Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Kolkata.

“Preparations are going on well under Rahul sir. I am sure we will give our best to come out victorious in the tournament. All the boys are in good shape and are performing well and I hope we come out with flying colours,” Sarfaraz, an adidas athlete, told IANS in an interview.

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India will take on Ireland (after Australia pulled out due to security concerns) in their opening match to be held at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on January 28. The three-time winners (2000, 2008, 2012) are clubbed in Group D with Ireland, New Zealand and Nepal.

The 18-year-old said the team is enjoying the fact that Dravid is their coach as the 43-year-old takes the pressure out of the boys and makes them feel comfortable.

“After Rahul sir took over, we got to learn a lot from him. We are enjoying the moment, playing under him. It is a real joy to play under such a big figure. His huge amount of experience which he is sharing with us is a great help for all of us,” the Mumbaikar said.

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“He advised us to enjoy the game and give our best on the field. He told us to not take pressure as the game goes on and to stay cool as much as possible. We have got to learn a lot of technical things from him. We are loving every minute training under him.”

The right-hander said it is tough to pick a favourite with all teams preparing well. “All teams are in good form and will give us tough competition ahead. We are prepared to take on the best.”

Sarfaraz made news after playing a handy role for Indian Premier League (IPL) side Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“IPL gave me the platform and confidence to work better and perform well. Playing with legends of the game has given me a lot of confidence. I look forward to play for RCB in 2016 as well. Playing alongside Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle has helped me learn a lot. They gave me a lot of advice on technique, preparation methods,” he said.

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“From Kohli I learnt about his fitness regimes, how he trains. AB sir is a world class player. I learnt a lot about his batting techniques. On the other hand, from Gayle sir I got to know how to take on the bowling and hit them for long sixes.”

Asked if he sees the World Cup as a gateway to the senior team, Sarfaraz said, “I am currently concentrating on performing well for the U-19 World Cup and if I play well, all will follow. I don’t have big and long plans. I want to keep control of the present.”

(Aritra Chowdhury can be contacted at [email protected])

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