‘He Can Be Our Future No. 3’ – MSK Prasad On Shaik Rasheed

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - 'He can be our future No. 3' - MSK Prasad on Shaik Rasheed. Shaik Rasheed hit a fifty in the final after scoring 94 in the semis against Australia.

‘He Can Be Our Future No. 3’ – MSK Prasad On Shaik RasheedShaik Rasheed hit a fifty in the final after scoring 94 in the semis against Australia.

MSK Prasad says Shaik Rasheed reminds him of Rahul Dravid, in technique, temperament and solidity. “He can be our future No. 3 in red ball and white ball cricket,” the former India chief selector says of the Under 19 vice-captain, who gave a stellar batting performance in the Under 19 World Cup.

Ask the same to Rasheed and his answer is one of maturity and patience, something Dravid was also known for. “We have just won the Under 19 World Cup and we are over the moon. The victory was a tribute to the bonding among the players and the coaches have ensured we stayed here (in the Caribbean) like a family. My future… I will take it the way it comes. I need to improve my game and I will work on it,” the Andhra boy tells Cricbuzz as he prepares to catch the flight home on Sunday morning.

MSK and Rasheed come from the same town in Andhra, Guntur, and the former India stumper has had a role in the development of the young batsman when he was the CEO of Andhra Cricket Association. “He likes to score in front of the wicket and bats late, giving himself sufficient time to play the ball. Those are very good qualities. What was most impressive was his temperament. He never looked rattled when India were under pressure,” Prasad says.

Rasheed stood his ground like a hard rock in all three knockout games in the World Cup. He hit a 26 in a low-scoring but high-intensity chase in the quarterfinal against Bangladesh, anchored the innings with a well-paced 94 in the semifinal against Australia and then set the match up with a tenacious 50 in the final against England, all three scores coming after early loss of wickets.

But Rasheed wonders how he managed to play those games in the first place. “I never thought I had another chance in the tournament,” he says reminiscing the time when the Indian camp was hit by Covid-19 with half a dozen players, including himself, were forced into isolation.

“I had given up hope of playing any more part in the tournament. Regular testing and 15-day quarantine and I thought the tournament has ended for me,” he recalls. “At that stage, the support staff has backed us well, kept us motivating. We were in isolation and they would do regular video-calling and try to explain us to treat this as a brief injury pause and not as a Covid disruption. Coaches and VVS Laxman Sir would be on the call and they would tell me there is lot more to play in the tournament – quarterfinals, semifinals, final and all those games. They tried to instil a positive mind-set.”

Asked to explain those innings in the knockouts, Rasheed says it came naturally to him. “Initially there was pressure but I tried to play my natural game. I am confident of my game and I played that way. Although there was not much practice before the knockouts (because of the Covid-induced isolation), we were confident. I had scored an unbeaten 72 in a practice game against Australia and that gave me a lot of confidence.”

Since the four-wicket win in the final in Antigua, Rasheed has been bombarded with calls and messages. “We have had a party. We celebrated the win, stayed together. The bonding is very good. And, yes I have not had time to answer all my calls and messages. I would respond to all soon,” he says.

Many of his teammates have registered for the IPL auction but he would not be one to go under the hammer as he has not played a List A or a first class game, a necessity to be eligible to feature in the IPL. Rasheed is not disappointed nevertheless. “Not exactly,” he says. “I will get my opportunities. If I have not played this year it does not mean it is the end of the world. I will qualify eventually.”

Indian diplomat hosts the team

Dr KJ Srinivasa, High Commissioner of India to Antigua and Barbuda based in Guyana, hosted a reception for the team after the final on Saturday (February 5) night. The event was attended by the legends of West Indies cricket like Sir Richie Richardson and Sir Curtly Ambrose. Also present were Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt and other diplomats of the region and ministers of the local government. Apart from the full U 19 team and its selectors Ranadeb Bose and Prathik Patel, VVS Laxman, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Sairaj Bahutule attended the reception.

“This event brought together people to congratulate the achievements of our young team and the team was inspired by the presence and interaction with legends. This young brigade has really performed very well, being unbeaten in the tournament. Their positive approach, mature thinking, coming back from adversity where nearly half the team was down with Covid shows that the future of Indian cricket is in great hands,” the diplomat told this website.

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