Paras Mhambrey: Asia Cup win is part of our learning curve
India beat Bangladesh by five runs in Colombo on Saturday to emerge champions of the U- 19 Asia Cup. And while it’s a stupendous achievement, the team’s coach and former India pacer Paras Mhambrey feels it’s still too far- fetched to imagine that this success will replicate on the world stage, at the U- 19 World Cup to be held in South Africa from January 17 next year.
"This [ Asia Cup success] is just one step ahead in the learning curve for us. The World Cup is a different ball game and still far away. We have so many other matches before that.
"So we are not even looking at it [World Cup] right now. The close Asia Cup final win is a big positive but ours is a journey in progress. This title is one stepping stone for us in the right direction," Mhambrey told mid- day on the team’s arrival from Colombo on Sunday after their successful Asia Cup campaign.
Mhambrey should know. After all, he was the India U- 19 team’s bowling coach when the Prithvi Shaw- led Indian team won the 2018 U- 19 World Cup in New Zealand under coach and former India skipper Rahul Dravid.
Mhambrey said the team line- up is still being finalised keeping future tournaments in mind. "Currently, we are in the process of building the team [ for the U- 19 World Cup]. We still have a couple of months before we finalise certain things. This tournament [U- 19 Asia Cup] has provided us a great opportunity to look at different players. So, going ahead we can now plan which are the players we need to focus on and what are the areas that need improvement. All this will help us in our preparation for the World Cup," said Mhambrey, 47.
All praise for Atharva
Recalling the thrilling Asia Cup final, where India defended a meagre target of 106, bowling out Bangladesh for 101, Mhambrey praised Mumbai-based left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar, who stole the show with his 5- 28. "He [Atharva] really made the difference. When you want to defend a total like that , you need a blower to turn up and pick wickets and he did just that. He soaked the pressure nicely and maintained his cool throughout, reacting perfectly to the situation. When the opponent is inching towards the target and you know that every run matters, it’s also important for the bowler to be patient. And full credit to Atharva for doing that. He kept it simple and did the job, and that’s what mattered in the end," said former Mumbai pacer Mhambrey, who picked up 284 first-class wickets. Mhambrey credited the Asia Cup success to team work. "The boys were disappointed [after putting up just 106] but they were keen to do their best in the field nevertheless.
During the break, we discussed that if we could pick up a couple of early wickets, things could swing our way. So the idea was to put pressure on them from both ends. And the boys not only bowled well but fielded brilliantly too. It was team work," added Mhambrey, who played two Tests and three ODIs.
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