India defeated defending champions Australia by six wickets to win their third Under-19 Cricket World Cup title on Sunday. Captain Unmukt Chand scored an unbeaten 111. Chasing Australia’s 225, India got home in 47.4 overs.
The Indian community’s celebrations have added vigor as the Indian boys have given them a reason to smile after the drubbing of the senior Test team in Australia earlier this year.
“Our boys’ title win in Townsville has restored some of the immense pride we had in the Indian cricket team,” Sanjay Chopra, a mining engineer, told IANS.
“Thousands of Indians were let down by the Indian cricket legends but now we are feeling reassured that Indian cricket has a great future,” he said.
Sandip Hor, a Sydney-based engineer, said: “Unlike the seniors, the juniors have proved their capability of winning both at home and abroad.
“They are truly the World champions,” he added.
While the accolades are flowing for the whole team, Delhi youngster Unmukt Chand’s name came up in every conversation about the Sunday win.
“This boy Unmukt Chand handled his team extremely intelligently – a wise head on his shoulders,” said Hem Chandra Rao, a medical specialist, who is based here.
“His batting has been exciting and timing of his strokes were not only exciting but crucial as he pulled the team out of difficult situation in Australian conditions.”
The emergence of Unmukt as future Test cricket material is being predicted by Indian cricket enthusiasts here.
“To me, Unmukt Chand is a future Test cricketer,” veteran cricket statistician Kersi Meher-Homji told IANS.
“He has strokes and maturity as he led India to a heart-warming victory in the U-19 World Cup. His six sixes lifted our spirit,” says Kersi who has authored 13 cricket books including the best-selling “The Waugh Twin”.
There are many in the Indian community who see the U-19 title win over Australia as an extension of the spirited rivalry that is expected every time the national cricket teams of both countries meet.
“This win is another global stride for India and another example of the increasingly healthy competitiveness with Australia,” said Anupam Sharma, an Indian film personality in Australia.
“Australia is exploring ways to felicitate the Under-19 Indian team at the second Australian Film Festival of India later this year.”
The two Sydney-siders are joined by Darshak Mehta, who heads LBW Trust, a charity organisation linked with cricket, in showering accolades over the youngsters.
Mehta is particularly impressed with young Indian cricketers’ steely temperament.
“The final was a match-up of two teams missing key players but more than that it was always going to be a test of temperament,” said Mehta.
“The Indian boys handled the pressure better and therefore won,” he added.