India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid and captain Prithvi Shaw on Monday addressed the media in Mumbai after they arrived from New Zealand. The former India captain answered questions ranging from the team's preparation for the tournament to the road ahead for the boys. Responding to a question about his visit to the Pakistan dressing room after India's semi-final win, Dravid corrected a reporter, who had perhaps based his question on the comments of Nadeem Khan, Pakistan U-19 team manager. “It was a very nice gesture only confirming Dravid’s stature in our eyes,” Nadeem Khan had said about Dravid visiting the Pakistan dressing room to boost the morale of the team after the crushing loss. However, Dravid clarified on the episode, saying he did not visit the Pakistan dressing room.
"I did not go into their dressing room. They had a talented left-arm fast bowler and I thought, he bowled really well in the tournament. So, I just congratulated him. I met him outside their dressing room and said, well done in the tournament. It's nice. As a coach, it is exciting to see a good talent," Dravid said.
The 45-year-old said that the Pakistani team management was impressed with the talented Indian side.
"We had some great talent and they were very appreciative of our cricketers as well. Their coaches mentioned to me so many times that the standard of cricket we have seen your guys play is a benchmark for a lot of us. They were very effusive in their praise and I also acknowledged the fact that they had some very good talent as well," he said.
Dravid said the most satisfying part of the World Cup triumph was the process the team followed to reach the top.
"The real satisfaction, in my opinion, is the process that was followed over the last 14-16 months, the whole planning and preparation that has gone into, not necessarily for this World Cup, but for developing the U-19 players," he said.
"It was great team work, guys behind the scenes, the selectors, NCA, the BCCI setting up games and series. Winning a tournament like this is a good reflection of the team work," he added.
I know a thing or two about being a teenager - Rahul Dravid pic.twitter.com/xpASgHpeen— BCCI (@BCCI) February 5, 2018
India won all their matches convincingly leading up to the final where they beat Australia by eight wickets.
Dravid though felt the team was not at its best in the summit clash.
"We did not play our number one game in the final, that we played in the quarter-final (versus Bangladesh) and semi-final (against Pakistan). Just the fact that they played the final was an experience," Dravid said.
Dravid signed off by advising the boys to quit age-level cricket and take the next step.
No regrets - says the Wall on being asked whether he still thinks about not winning a World Cup as a player. pic.twitter.com/v1UUjXDWY7— BCCI (@BCCI) February 5, 2018
"My view is quite well known. I feel that once the boys are good enough they should go on to play men's cricket, especially those who had played first class cricket," he said.
"Five boys from last year's World Cup qualified to play this time. But we made a conscious decision not to pick them as I felt it will be better for them to play U-23 cricket and senior men's cricket.
(With inputs from IANS)