Dravid is the Best Coach For Indian U-19 Team: Ian Bishop

Statistician Arun Gopalakrishnan interviews Ian Bishop ahead of the U-19 World Cup final between India and WI.

4 min read
India U-19 captain Ishan Kishan and West Indies U-19 captain Shimron Hetmyer pose with the U-19 World Cup ahead of the final. (Photo: <a href="https://twitter.com/ICCMediaComms">ICC Media Twitter</a>)
  • Statistician Arun Gopalakrishnan interviews former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop ahead of the U-19 cricket World Cup final between India and West Indies.
  • Bishop foresees a closely fought final on Sunday.
  • The West Indies speedster said the toss will play a crucial role in the final.
  • He spoke about Rahul Dravid’s influence on the U-19 Indian team.

On Sunday, February 14, India and West Indies will battle it out at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur to be crowned champions of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2016.

The Indian team, led by Ishan Kishan, have stormed through to the title clash beating every one of their five opponents by convincing margins. The West Indies meanwhile, have recovered very well to make the final after losing to England in their tournament opener.

(Photo: Liju Joseph/The Quint)
(Photo: Liju Joseph/The Quint)

Ian Bishop, the former West Indies speedster, who has been calling the game as part of the ICC’s commentary panel, foresees a closely fought final on Valentine’s Day.

Speaking exclusively to The Quint in Dhaka, Bishop said:

The pitch will play an important role in the final. I saw a pitch in Mirpur, the one on which India and Sri Lanka played in the semi-final, which certainly had a bit of assistance for the quicks. It was a fresh pitch and the ball was bouncing and carrying through to the keeper.
Ian Bishop

Bishop added, “If West Indies, with Chemar Holder and Alzarri Joseph get first use of the pitch, they will most certainly bowl better than the Sri Lankans did in their game against India and can ruffle a few feathers. If the final is played on that kind of a wicket, I expect the match to be a close contest. I think India will still be favourites, but by a very small margin.”

Bishop said the Indian team have a good all-round team.

This is as good an all-round Indian team I have ever seen, most definitely at this level. When I look at India’s seam bowling – they’ve got two competent bowlers, may be three – and they’ve got a plethora of spinners.
Ian Bishop

“Their batting though seems to have so much depth; the thing that strikes me most about the batting is the calmness of players to perform under pressure and their ability to read match situations and play according to the demands of the situation; that is an indication of how mature the players in the Indian team are,” said Bishop.

Bishop elaborated further on the qualities in the Indian players that have impressed him most. He said:

The temperament of the players has been very sound. Their body language has been positive all the time. I have not seen one Indian player on the park who has looked flustered; they always looked calm, focussed and almost business - like without being tense.
Ian Bishop

While it has been all smooth sailing for India in the last fortnight, Bishop identified three areas that needed to fall in place in the all-important final. “The form of captain Ishan Kishan, who has scored only one half-century in the competition, should be a concern. It is very important for the Indian team that he has a good final, especially if they bat first. If the captain doesn’t score runs, at times it can hamper his decision making.

(Photo: Liju Joseph/The Quint)
(Photo: Liju Joseph/The Quint)

“I’d like to see Khaleel Ahmed get some wickets; he’s definitely bowled better than numbers suggest, but at some point he needs to start getting among the wickets. The Indian team also needs to field better than they did in the semis.”

Bishop was of the opinion that the Indian team couldn’t have had a better mentor than India’s former captain Rahul Dravid.

Speaking about Dravid’s possible influence on the young lads, Bishop said:

I have observed Rahul [Dravid] from close and far during his playing days and I’ve had the opportunity of working with him in the commentary box. He is a deep thinker of the game and a guy whose temperament is so level in accepting success and failure in equal measure.
Ian Bishop

“I’ve wondered on occasions during this tournament if that is what I am seeing in this young Indian team; I’ve seen the Indian boys enjoy their successes, but they’ve remained calm under pressure, which was exactly how Rahul was throughout his career. I believe there could not be a better person to mentor these young Indian cricketers,” added Bishop.

India have won the ICC Under-19 World Cup thrice in the past – in 2000, 2008 and 2012 - and will be keen to add one more to that list, while Shimron Hetmyer will be eyeing to become the first West Indies captain to win the ICC Under-19 World Cup title.

(Photo: Liju Joseph/The Quint)
(Photo: Liju Joseph/The Quint)

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