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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Indian colts leave for under-19 World Cup

Indian colts leave for under-19 World Cup

Last updated on: February 09, 2004 15:31 IST

The Indians colts, tagged 'favourites', left this morning for Dhaka to take part in the Under-19 World Cup, from February 15.

The 14-member squad, led by Hyderabad all-rounder Ambati Rayudu, left in a Bangladesh Biman flight from the NSC Bose International Airport in Kolkata.

The two-time champions will play a couple of warm-up matches before launching their campaign against minnows Scotland in the World Cup opener at the Bangabandhu National stadium on February 16.

Coach Robin Singh, satisfied with the performance of his wards in the recent Asia Cup in Lahore and the one-dayers against Australia back home, expressed confidence in the team's ability to win the Cup for the third time.

"Hopefully, we will get through to the final. It has been a good run for them so far and I am confident that the boys will fare pretty well in Bangladesh," Singh told reporters at the airport before embarking on the Dhaka flight.

India, who recently won the under-19 Asia Cup and registered comprehensive victories in all three one-day matches against the Aussies, are pitted against hosts Bangladesh, New Zealand and Scotland in group C.

The Australia under-19 team, winners of the 2002 Cup, also left for the 16-team tournament with the Indians.

Aussie coach Bennett King, though a bit disappointed with the performance of his charges on Indian soil, hopes for an improved display by the contingent in the Cup.

"It's a challenge for me and my players to scale up their game. They have to learn the lessons quickly so as to do well on the turning tracks [in Bangladesh]," he said.

Bennett, who termed the Indians as the favourites, felt the teams from the sub-continent - also including Sri Lanka and Pakistan - could draw some advantage from the similar climatic and pitch conditions.

Robin, who had only few areas of concern about the team, agreed to the view as did junior selection committee chairman Pravin Amre.

"The Indian boys will be going as one of the favourites. We got time to enable the team reach its peak form. The boys did well in Pakistan and outplayed the Aussies, the champions in junior cricket. So we hope this side will do well in the Cup," Amre, who was in Kolkata to watch the matches between India and the Australian youngsters, said.

He, however, cautioned "Australia is one team which can pick up their game anytime".

India, who were ousted from the 2002 World Cup by New Zealand in the last four stage, play their second league match against the Kiwis on February 18 before taking on the hosts in the third and final league tie on February 20.

The 16 teams taking part in the tournament are divided into four groups and the top two sides from each group play the Super League.

The top two teams from each of the two Super League groups qualify for the Super League semi-finals. The Super League final will be played on March 5.

The team: Ambati Rayudu (capt), Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uttappa, Praveen Gupta, Suresh Raina, Gaurav Dhiman, V R V Singh, Shikar Mohinder Pal, B Abhishek Sharma, Sunny Satpal Singh, Nikhil Rajendra Rathod, Prafull Waghela, Fazal Faiz Yakub and Rudra Pratap Singh.

Coach: Robin Singh.

Manager: Ram Babu Gupta.

Physio: Dr Kinjal Suratwala.