MUMBAI: Batting legend and India Under-19 coach Rahul Dravid today described Mumbai teen sensation Prithvi Shaw, part of the team for the ongoing youth ODI series against England, as a “talented” player who can become even better through learning and experience.
“He (Shaw) is a talented player but he’s got a long way to go. He has got lot to learn. None of them are finished products, all are learning along the way. He will get opportunities, he (is) going to have some ups and downs,” Dravid told reporters after India U-19 team beat England U-19 by 129 runs in the first match of youth ODI series here.
“I think more they failed, as long as they reflect on it and recognised shortcomings that these are the shots we need to improve, that is better. Our job is to make them aware of the things that they need to work on and to become better player from the experience me and the support staff had having played international cricket,” the former India captain said.
Shaw scored a brilliant century in the Ranji Trophy semifinal at Rajkot against Tamil Nadu and helped his side storm into the final.
“Firstly, can’t give the credit to me, it’s credit to Mumbai cricket. Actually (they) had the courage to play 17-18 year old boy (Shaw) and been able to pick him, seen him perform obviously in domestic cricket and U-19 cricket,” Dravid said about the young opener.
“It’s really interesting, lot of times I tell people I have been in this job for close to 18-16 months, the only people actually called me up and asked me about their players are Bombay guys,” he said.
“Nobody else calls. You think that being a former India player and being a coach you find lot of associations wanted to call you up and ask you about the players, but I had only conversations with the Bombay guys. Last year they wanted to know lot about Arman (Jaffer) and Prithvi as well. So I guess in a sense it tells you why Bombay (is) so successful.”
Dravid revealed that the team had asked the groundsmen to leave as much grass as possible to get some pace and bounce.
“We have actually told the groundsmen to leave as much grass as possible to get some pace and bounce. From our perspective, we want to play on wickets like this which have bounce and pace. That’s the real challenge for us, especially also with the (U-19) World Cup in New Zealand in a year’s time.
“The more we play on wickets like these, it will give us and selectors an idea about some of the players. It will give them an idea what they need to improve on. It’s better to get those lessons now than to get them in December next year and not have enough time to prepare for it,” he said.
Dravid also hinted that the U-19 Test team against England may be different.
“The Test team might be very different. From my perspective, it is a bit disappointing for the guys who missed out, they performed in U-19, (but) they could not play the Asia Cup because of the age thing. So, I would love to give them some games and opportunities well.”
Meanwhile, Dravid expressed grief over the demise of Rajesh Sawant, who was the team’s physical trainer. Sawant passed away in a Mumbai hotel on Sunday.
“It was shocking and it’s really said. Rajesh, I did not know him very well, he just joined the team recently, but he was so excited about joining Indian team and (being) part of Indian U-19 team. I was sort of having a few conversations with him around because he had taken over,” he said.
“So, I was having a conversation with him (Sawant) just a day before that, playing that game, sitting and talking to him about it. It is shocking and my thoughts are with his family.”
“He (Rajesh) was liked so much in Mumbai cricket. Sad, (He was a) good man. It was tough couple of days, I have never experienced like that. Credit to these boys and I told them that to come out and play that next day was an absolute credit to them, not easy for us to come out and play that last game (at Wankhede stadium) honestly.
“Real credit to all of them that they came out and played inspite of so many thoughts going in the mind. I don’t think many of them slept that night. I still don’t know how to react, it’s one of the tough (times), all we can do is hope his soul rests in peace,” Dravid said.