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Cricket news - Mhambrey happy with preparations ahead of U19 World Cup

Mhambrey wants to focus on player development

Mhambrey wants to focus on player development

As the India Under-19 team prepares to leave for South Africa for the 2020 World Cup, head coach Paras Mhambrey admitted that the preparation blue-print for the side was the one adopted from the previous World Cup campaign, where the Prithvi Shaw-led side won the tournament.

As a part of the preparation for the tournament, the team practised in Alur before their tour to South Africa, which they are set to leave for on December 20. Mhambrey, who was a part of the earlier setup serving as the bowling coach, said the focus with this batch continued to be on the development of the players and not the result. And in that, he said, even as the World Cup is an important tournament, the result will not be completely reflective of the process.

"The preparation started one and a half years ago in the previous campaign," Mhambrey said on Sunday (December 15). "A similar process is being adopted out here and that's the focus - how the process is and how do you want to take it through.

"The process, for me, is very important. You can't judge that by just winning a tournament. That's not the larger picture. It's good to win, especially at the platform we are at right now. But the focus for us is the development of the player. It's (World Cup) a stepping stone as one of the tournaments the player will play going ahead in his career. There's first-class cricket after that, there's representing India at the highest level. And in that process, this step is forward."

The World Cup will be preceded by a quadrangular series, a triangular tournament and a few practice matches in South Africa, which will help India acclimatize to the conditions on offer. The intent was to simulate the conditions that is expected to be on offer in South Africa.

"It's good that we are getting at least 10 games before the first match of the World Cup. Those games do give us the opportunity to experiment and find the right combinations going ahead. It definitely gives us the option of trying a couple of options. So in case, we encounter a particular condition in the tournament, we are in a position to take the right step."

With 10 matches in a span of less than a month, there could be a case of fatigue setting in even before the world cup begins. However, Mhambrey brushed aside concerns over that and said, "If we look at it the other way, it gives us the chance to rotate the squad, so that we can give enough breaks to individual who we feel needs that break. Also, it is important because the conditions that we encounter out there will be completely different to what we have when we play out here. In that sense, it gives them an opportunity to acclimatize themselves to the conditions, wickets. That's what we are looking at."

One of the biggest challenges the former India bowler stressed on, in his role as a coach, was to ensure that the team bonds well, especially with players from different parts of the country coming together. "The big challenge is going to be about gelling as a unit. That's important," he said. "It's good that they play a lot of cricket, play with each other. They play with each other at the state level or the junior cricket. So, individually, they know the other person. Individually, they spend a lot of time off the field as well. So, by doing that, they know each other's habits, likes, dislikes, nature - whether they are temperamental or not."

It was much in tune to the advice that Shaw gave to the current Under-19 skipper Priyam Garg. "I have spoken to Prithvi sir a lot," Garg said. "He told me 'your planning, your process and your team-bonding is most important. The more the team will feel a sense of togetherness, the better will they perform'. Prithvi sir also told me that the team should know what their strengths are. He said that team-bonding played a big role in India's success in 2018. And he told me the importance of bringing the best out of the players."

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