India favourites to lift U-19 World Cup trophy: Ganguly

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Kolkata: Former captain Sourav Ganguly today tipped India as the favourites to win the Under-19 World Cup final against Australia on Saturday.

India crushed arch-rivals Pakistan by 203 runs yesterday to set up a summit clash against Australia on February 3 at Mount Maunganui in New Zealand.

“India (will win U-19 World Cup). U-19 team is playing very well. There are immensely talented boys like Prithwi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Ishan Porel are players who have come up from the BCCI system. Our Board members have invested time to prepare them from the junior, under-19 and senior level,” Ganguly said.

“You can’t make players without structure. They are product of our system. In the next five years, barring Australia and England, Indian cricket will be the best in the world,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the release of the 20th edition of Shelly’s Cricket Year Book.

Ganguly was full of praise for Bengal youngsters Ishan Porel and Kanishk Seth who bowled extremely well in the U-19 World Cup.

“Ishan Porel is a product of CAB’s Vision 20-20 programme. U-19 is just the beginning, the stepping stone of one’s career. He has a long way to go. Porel stays in Bali. We from CAB will provide him with all help,” the Cricket Association of Bengal president said.

Ganguly sounded quite confident regarding the senior India team’s chances in the ODI series against South Africa.

The six match ODI series begins tomorrow and Ganguly said there’s a 50-50 chance for India to come on top.

“It’s going to be a 50-50 after India’s Johannesburg Test win. It won’t be easy in South African conditions. To our advantage, there’s no AB de Villiers, a huge name is South African cricket,” he said referring to de Villiers’ unavailability for first three ODIs.

“If Virat Kohli can make runs definitely India have a very good chance.”

South African’s ploy to prepare a bouncy track backfired at the Wanderers and Ganguly said: “I’ve seen it four days. I don’t think they intentionally did it but it turned out to be.

No curator knows how much it will turn and bounce. I think it was an accident. In future, it won’t happen, I think.”

At the IPL players auction, India’s Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (Sunrisers Hyderabad) fetched Rs 5 crore while Dinesh Karthik was bought for Rs 7.4 crore by Kolkata Knight Riders.

“You cannot judge players based on IPL money. Hashim Amla (of South Africa) went unsold. He has 54 centuries. Manish Pandey who is yet to play a test went for Rs 11 crores. Ishan Kishan has got 6.2 crores (Mumbai Indians) playing only Ranji Trophy. So the IPL is not a yardstick to judge any player’s value,” he pointed out.

“IPL is a different format and you have to look at it that way. It is a totally different ball game from Test cricket and ODIs. IPL has no rationale, it is supply and demand. Jaydev Unadkat is the highest paid Indian player (in the 2018 auction). He has played two ODIs and no Tests,” Ganguly said.

Unadkat was the surprise of the IPL players’ auction being the most expensive domestic player after being picked by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 11.5 crore in a bidding war, also involving Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab.

Co-owner of two-time champions ATK in the Indian Super League football, Ganguly’s team is struggling to replicate their past performances and have slumped to eighth position in the 10-team standings after a hat-trick of losses.

Blaming it on the new set up after they walked out of their deal with their Spanish partner Atletico Madrid, he said: “New team new coach. We had a Spanish coach and Spanish players. We were champions in the first two editions out of three times. We could not get our combination right. The change in management did not work for us. Let’s see I will talk to Sanjiv (Goenka) and decide.

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