Fielding Coach Munish Bali Praises India’s Under-19 Team
By SMCS - Feb 12, 2022 10:50 am
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India’s Under-19 team continued to impress as they recently lifted a record-fifth World Cup title with a convincing win over England in the final. However, they faced difficulties when the COVID-19 breached the bio-bubble. And, despite the unavailability of their leaders Yash Dhull and Sheikh Rasheed for a couple of matches, they did well. In an exclusive interview with Cricketnext, India’s U-19 team fielding coach Munish Bali praised the team.

india u19
India U19 team won the World Cup 2022

“Throughout the tournament, players used to travel together as they bonded well and were naturally concerned about the ones who got infected but we accepted that nobody can’t control what had happened. VVS Laxman and Hrishikesh Kanitkar guided the players to focus in the right direction helped them to stay positive. We were hoping that the players have a speedy recovery meanwhile other players were ready to step up and perform on the match day,” Bali told Cricketnext.

The veteran praised the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and National Cricket Academy (NCA) for investing resources to find the best of players for the mega event and groom them as well.

He continued: “Both teams had quite different journeys and faced their own challenges. In 2008 a lot of players from our Playing XI like Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Manish Pandey, Siddharth Kaul had already played Ranji Trophy and were very well prepared for it. They were all experienced as toured with the U-19 team before the tournament.”

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“But this time, due to pandemic the situation was very different, no junior cricketing event took place for 15 months due to which the players were a bit rusty. We started preparing three months before the U-19 World Cup and most of the boys have not played red-ball cricket. They only played one major tournament – Vinoo Mankad and from their NCA and selectors and BCCI started planning. They picked out 90 boys and divide them into six teams which played a Challenger Trophy,” he again shared.

“After the Challenger, two teams were picked and then the boy played Bangladesh who beat us. The team was finalised in December before going for the Asia Cup. Since then everyone put in excellent efforts from players, coaching staff to selectors and BCCI and NCA to make this tournament a great success,” he said. “Each player contributed in one way or another which brought us closer to victory with each game. It was a team effort that even after the main players got infected with COVID others stood up and were completely focussed on the game.”

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After the success in the U-19 World Cup, the team have a long journey ahead to reach the senior level. Some of them are likely to get lucrative deals in the Indian Premier League Auctions as well but before that, they will have to play red-ball cricket in Ranji Trophy season as well.

“Both are different games altogether (IPL and Ranji Trophy). Ranji trophy has players who have experience in playing domestic cricket, there are state players as well, making it easier to gel with them as they will have similar temperament towards the game. IPL on the other hand have international players, international coaches and has a different atmosphere than the domestic game which will be a great learning experience for the boys,” Munish Bali added.

“According to me, a fielder is just about fitness. The more fit you are; the better fielder you can become. Players are getting inspired by senior players like Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya and many others. Also, zonal camps are set for about 30 to 45 days where complete attention is paid to fitness by good and well-qualified trainers. There is more awareness amongst the players and are working hard each day to maintain their form. The players who got covid were given special programmes to recover quickly and maintain their fitness at the same time. The players followed it religiously and even after recovering from covid, they went back on the field and still performed well,” Munish Bali asserted.

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However, Yash Dhull impressed all with his calm and composed demeanour throughout the tournament as a leader while he also displayed his batting prowess several times as well. He scored 229 runs in 4 matches and Munish Bali lauded Dhull’s captaincy abilities and stated that he had a good cricketing brain and reads the game as well.

“He is not just extremely talented but is a very smart and aware player. He assesses the situation very quickly, knows which bowler should be used at which time. His batting is also very good and he has good strokes all around. Yash is a very promising cricketer with a great cricketing attitude,” Munish Bali shared.