With India set to square off against Bangladesh in the quarterfinal of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup on Friday, head coach Rahul Dravid hopes the focus of the side will not be diverted towards the upcoming IPL auctions. A total of 9 members of Indian U-19 squad will go under the hammer on Sunday at IPL 11 auctions- Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Himanshu Rana, Abhishek Sharma, Riyan Parag, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Arshdeep Singh and Harvik Desai.
But Dravid, who led Delhi Daredevils as the mentor in the previous edition of the tournament, said that the focus of the team should be on the upcoming World Cup quarterfinal.
Speaking in an interview to ESPN Cricinfo, the 46-year old said, “There’s no point hiding from the fact that it is there. It is around the corner. There’s no point living in the bubble and pretending it doesn’t exist. We do discuss it. We’ve spoken about what their focus should be and what their long-term goals are as compared to their short-term goals.”
The former right-hand batsman further added that a chance to play for India in a World Cup does not come every year. “The auction is not something the boys can control. One or two auctions won’t really have a long-term impact on their careers. There is an auction every year, but not every year will they have an opportunity to play for India in possibly a World Cup semi-final. That doesn’t come very often.”
Dravid, who has earlier participated as a player for Rajasthan Royals in the T20 tournament added that his young side is really focused on the task at hand. “I don’t feel worried about it. I think this group of guys are really focused on playing good cricket here. I like the energy and the spirit in this team. We’ve been here for three weeks and we couldn’t have asked for better preparation from the boys. They’ve been superb. We talked about the auction once and we said let’s keep that out of our minds,” he said.
Dravid further added that his side is not thinking ahead in the tournament about a semifinal clash against Pakistan and is only focused on the quarterfinal against Bangladesh.
“We’re not thinking past the next game against Bangladesh. We lost to them in the Asia Cup. We are aware of the fact that Bangladesh is a good team. We haven’t even looked at the rest of the draw. The focus is right now on doing well against Bangladesh. We had a week off, that was actually part of the challenge, managing at this age, boys are keen to play, at this age a week off can be a long time. So we had a day off and they got out a bit and relaxed. Today had a light session. Sometimes it’s just a question of hoping they don’t get too overexcited.”
India topped the group after winning all their three group games against Australia, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe.