Rahul Dravid, India’s Under-19 coach, has called for “even bigger praise” for the backroom staff who had to manage injuries to as many as five key players and made sure there was no knock-on effect on the team’s run to the title.
“We have had a few injuries right through the year,” he told ESPNcricinfo. “The way they’ve managed these injuries and handled players has been thoroughly professional. I’ve been around for a long time and seen how professional athletes are managed. These under-19 boys got the best professional help from the current team of physios and trainers here and at the NCA.”
Among those who were under an injury cloud in the two months leading into the World Cup were the fast bowling pair of Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi. Both men regularly clocked in excess of 140kph and impressed most with their ability to hustle batsmen with pace and get the ball to swing both ways. Nagarkoti had a shoulder injury while Mavi had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (knee) injury.
The pair spent three weeks at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru under Anand Date, the strength and conditioning trainer, and Yogesh, the physio, before being declared fit. It helped that Date and Yogesh were also part of the support staff group that travelled to New Zealand for the Under-19 World Cup.
Dravid also acknowledged the importance of the “much-maligned” NCA and the support system he had at his disposal for helping overcome difficult challenges in injury management and player development.
“It’s much-maligned unfortunately, but when you see Nagarkoti or Mavi bowl, when we congratulate ourselves, we should raise a glass to the NCA,” he said. “All these boys had over the course of a year have been managed very carefully. They had a couple of injuries, but the trainers and physios worked hard with them. Lot of this is team effort, it’s not just what I do, it’s also my support staff here, the backing of the NCA too.”
Rahul Dravid and Prithvi Shaw share some ideas IDI/Getty Images
Left-arm spinner Anukul Roy has a history of injuries and a stress-related issue with his ankle made him miss the Under-19 Challenger Trophy which was meant to help the selectors pick the 15 for the World Cup. He was in danger of not making the squad, and “was scared” but the team management put him at ease and backed him to be on the plane to New Zealand.