India’s U-19 coach Paras Mhambrey said that Rahul Dravid restructured U-19 and India ‘A’ systems that has helped the national team get talents that already have a lot of exposure.
“This whole U-19 and ‘A’ structure is the brainchild of Rahul Dravid,” Mhambrey told Cricbuzz.
“We do a lot of away tours so they are aware of the conditions. Of course, players by then know home conditions in and out. The challenge is when a person graduates to playing for the country, he should already have experience of playing in Australia, South Africa, England, New Zealand, etc,” he added.
Mhambrey also praised the desire of Board of Control for Cricket in India for backing the project.
“When I was playing, I had only one India ‘A’ tour in my whole career. Now, you have so many. Credit should go to BCCI, it’s not cheap. It’s a challenge to organize these tours... sometimes other boards don’t have enough money so BCCI bears the costs. Such gestures often go unrecognized,” he added.
Speaking about the battery of young Indian fast bowlers that consistently hit the 140-kmph mark, Mhambrey attributed it to enhanced fitness levels of players.
“You don’t see physios and trainers on the ground but a lot of work goes on behind the scenes, in the off-season too,” he said.
“Fitness is the prime reason, and also the biomechanics work we do to make sure the technique is not an issue. I think this combination is working well. You need to monitor these kids closely for a couple of years. Only once they are 23-24, they become aware of what they need to do,” he added.
Mhambrey though hoped there would be better communication between the National Cricket Academy and the state associations so that the progress of the players’ fitness levels is monitored better.
“I would like to see better coordination so that the cricketers remain fit and can play when it matters most,” he said.
“The challenge is to have as much control as we can. Whether this is right or wrong, we will have to look into that. With better control, we can monitor a player’s workload as we don’t want talent to miss out due to injury. You don’t want a kid to be over-bowled and miss out on a crucial year,” he added.
Mhambrey revealed that Dravid believes that his career would have been extended by another two years had he got the kind of facilities at the disposal of the youngsters. At the same time, the younger lot are also more aware of their fitness with India’s senior cricketers working very hard on that aspect. However, with growing pressure of expectations on these young players, Mhambtey feels it’s important to talk to them consistently.
“As a coach, I need to understand a player’s financial, educational and family background. Then I know how to pass on a message, how to work with him,” he said.
“The most important thing is the trust factor. I like spending time with these kids over dinner or breakfast and that helps me to coach them well. It’s not one solution for all,” he added.
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