Future gems of India cricket team
Can history repeat itself? When it concerns the Indian cricket team, anything is possible. A decade back, when Virat Kohli led the India U-19 cricket team to the World Cup glory in Malaysia, MS Dhoni remained the limited overs captain of the India senior cricket team.
By the time the India U-19 side won their third World Cup title in 2012, the Dhoni-led India cricket team already made history by winning their second ever senior World Cup title in the year 2011. Kohli played a key part in the tournament.
Fast forward a decade and Kohli has succeeded Dhoni as the captain of India in all the three formats of the game.
With all the attention back again for the U-19 Cricket World Cup 2018, Team India once again gets a high chance of create history. A sensational combination of a young Prithvi Shaw and the legendary Rahul Dravid could be the key behind another U-19 cricket world cup triumph for India.
India's Under-19 Cricket team Captain Prithvi Shaw and coach Rahul Dravid address a press conference in MumbaiIANS
Question is if it can happen.
Under Dravid, India U-19 cricket team reached the final of the U-19 World Cup in 2016 in Bangladesh. Ishan Kishan was the captain then. The defeat against West Indies did come hard, but a lot of positives were taken from the tournament.
This time however, the squad has taken a fresh look and Prithvi, India U-19 cricket team skipper, is entrusted with the job of doing what the team could not, two years back. Dravid's experience as the U-19 coach over the years is also the booster dose the team needs.
The ACC U-19 Asia Cup last November may have turned out a miserable outing for the boys as they lost against Nepal and Bangladesh, but the World Cup may just bring out that fresh start.
Virat Kohli with the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup at the Kuala Lumpur Twin Towers in 2008Stanley Chou/Getty
Can Prithvi, the captain of the ship, somehow get it done? Can he just about emulate a young Kohli and go further stamping his dominance in the future of Indian cricket?
"I am excited about Prithvi (Shaw). I have heard a lot about him and Ravi Bhai (Shashtri) has also told me many things about him," said Kohli in a press conference last year before Team India headed out for their South Africa tour. "He has had a lot of good performances in first-class cricket, which is rarely seen.
"He has been made the captain ahead of the boys, who have played U-19, there is special ability in him, that we have seen."
Prithvi, an opening batsman, has 961 runs from nine first-class cricket matches so far in his career. He was sensational in his Duleep Trophy debut in 2017 as he became the second youngest to score a century in the tournament after Sachin Tendulkar.
The Maharashtra cricketer achieved the feat playing for India Red, at the age 17 years and 320 days.
"We've been here a week now, played a couple of games. Everything has gone well, the preparation of the team has been good," Cricket Country quoted Prithvi as saying on the sidelines of the U-19 Cricket World Cup 2018.
"Our goal is obviously to win the World Cup but at the same time we are looking forward to our first game (against Australia on January 13), and let's see how the process goes."