Mumbai: Apart from his youth, the most striking quality about triumphant India Under-19 team skipper Unmukt Chand are his balanced responses to the press after returning home with the U-19 World Cup. Restrained and measured in his responses, Chand fielded all the questions thrown at him with aplomb and scarcely put a step wrong, even when asked about thorny issues like not being allowed to write college exams due to attendance problems.
Here's what he had to say:
On how he feels after the World Cup victory: We have worked hard. I am happy that we defeated Australia in Australia. I have been selected for lndia A, so the next target is to go to New Zealand and perform.
No, really I am just thinking whether I am good enough to play for India and whether I should be picked. I am just cherishing the moments and enjoying myself.
We had a chat with Sachin before we left. It was helpful. He told us what we can expect at the U-19 level - the dos and don'ts.
On Ian Chappell saying that he is ready to play for Indian national squad: Right now I want to take things one step at a time. At the moment I just want to perform at whatever level I am picked. I do want to play for India but that will happen in its own time.
On being with compared with India skipper Dhoni: You guys compare, we just play
On not being allowed to sit for college exams due to low attendance: I shouldn’t sit here and say that the college should change its rules just because we have won the Under-19 World Cup. They (St Stephens College in Delhi) have helped me a lot in the past. I have been in touch with the sports teacher and Principal. I hope things are sorted out.
On what he has learned from the tournament: Belief matters. We didn't have a great start to the tournament but managed to get our game together. It showed that it's important to believe in yourself, no matter how bad the situation is. After the loss to West Indies we were feeling a bit down, but then we managed to get back due to our belief in our talent and ability.
And coach of the victorious squad B Arun was also at hand to speak on the triumph. Here's what he had to say:
On the U-19 team and making the jump to senior level: The u-19 level is a great platform. It is a showcase for their talent. And very competitive as one could see from the matches that were played. But the bigger challenge will be to take the next step. The fielding standards were very high and some of the bowlers were touching 145mph. The big difference between the U-19 and the senior level is the maturity of the players. At any level the secret is to handle pressure.
On the youngsters making the for the national team: If you look at previous World Cups, only 20 per cent make the cut. And only another 20 per cent end up playing good first class cricket. So it is difficult.
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