India Under 19 team won the world cup title lately, fighting against Australia at the venue of Mount Maunganui. It was an eight-wicket victory with 67 balls to spare, a record feat for the team. Apart from the title, the way India clinched it, emerged as a mark of its superiority of form in the format. This strength of the team had its basis in the excellence of coach Rahul Dravid, the man behind the young team. Still, there are several other factors that led to this outcome of the tournament. The team’s preparation for the tournament, the formation and selection of players as well as the tournament itself.
Compared to other young teams, India’s preparation was highly aggressive. The team has been through a busy schedule, perhaps the busiest one. India has been playing both at home and away in back to back tournaments. In a year since the last season’s world cup, India participated in two Asia Cup tournaments held in Colombo and Kuala Lumpur. The team played toured England and also played at home against their international counterparts. As a part of preparation for the World Cup tournament, the team also participated in U19 Inter-state tournament. Also, performance of players in the Challenger Trophy were considered as the selection criteria for the tournament.
In the process of preparation for the world cup, selection of India’s young players was based solely on test and trail. Throughout the tournaments, 27 players played alongside team India. Apart from this, there were also 20 other players who were tested in domestic circuit. Thus, India’s intensity of preparation for the U19 World Cup was highly strategic.
In contrast, other top teams like Australia and New Zealand was nowhere close to such preparation levels. Australia’s endeavor remained limited to inter-team matches in local levels, while restraining from playing in international tournaments. Meanwhile, New Zealand players were completely away from the international circuit since the last world cup season. The differences of level in preparation was clearly apparent in the way team India progressed through the stages of the recently concluded tournament, nicking the final ultimately.