Aakash Chopra has lauded the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for their investment in Under-19 cricket which has enabled the junior side to consistently shine at the World Cups.
India have reached the final of the ongoing Under-19 World Cup being played in the West Indies. They registered a thumping win against Australia in the semi-finals and will face England in the summit clash on Saturday.
While appreciating the Indian Under-19 team's efforts in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra was quick to highlight the role played by the BCCI. He said:
"If we talk about this team's accomplishment, two or three things come to the fore. First, how much has the BCCI invested in this. You remember earlier Rahul Dravid used to be with this team - Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill. Now VVS Laxman is there with this team."
"I mean where do the under-19 players get the chance to spend the time with such legends. So BCCI is taking under-19 cricket as seriously as it takes any other cricket, which is phenomenal. They started the investment early - catch them young, watch them grow, they have done this job very well."
Dravid, who is now the Indian senior team's head coach, was instrumental in the junior side's title-winning run in 2018. Laxman, the current NCA (National Cricket Academy) head, is mentoring the Indian Under-19 team at the ongoing World Cup.
"Now it's like even-stevens" - Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra pointed out that the current Indian Under-19 team is almost at par with the other countries in terms of experience. He explained:
"Second, the last few times our boys used to have a lot of experience of first-class cricket because they used to get fast-tracked. It is not the case this time. COVID has been there for the last two years, only an odd player has played List A cricket, no one has played first-class. Now it's like even-stevens."
The reputed commentator was also effusive in his praise for the Indian side for having overcome setbacks during the tournament. Aakash Chopra pointed out:
"Third, there was a COVID outbreak as well, five players got it, then they came back and played, it's not easy. They have done this job despite that. So well done and the expectation is that they defeat England in the final and lift the trophy."
Six Indian players, including captain Yash Dhull and vice-captain Shaik Rasheed, had to miss the group stage matches against Ireland and Uganda after they tested positive for COVID-19. However, the rest of the players rose to the occasion as Team India registered massive wins in both those games.
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