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ICC U-19 WC 2024: India fall on the last step, once again to Australia

India loses another ICC final to Australia

It’s a contagious infection, whether they keep on changing the color of the ball, or the gender, or the tournament, or the ground, or the country, or the toss result, or anything, India keep on losing to Australia. Why do they? No one knows, but the truth stands tall.

The senior team loses, the women’s team loses, The Under-19 team loses as well, and everyone to the same opponent, it’s the Aussies. You change the channel to swift to a different sport; well, the Indian football team lost to the same opposition, recently at the Asian Cup.

Unless, there is a quick turnaround, probably in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024 at the Caribbean, it could, and mostly would, become a psychological issue, if it isn’t yet.

India’s loss to Australia adds another page in the unfinished book

“What’s not started will never get finished.” Johann Wolfgang, a German writer, once said.  And India’s longstanding woeful time on the last huddle in those big ICC tournaments are giving more power to those words.

India's nightmare over Australia continues
©- ICC/ Twitter

They only lose in the finals; is it about skill? No, it can’t be, otherwise, they wouldn’t have been unbeaten throughout those competitions, against so many mighty fine teams. Is it about talent? Not at all, Indian cricket is blessed with so many talented players of different generations. Or is it about the fear of the biggest stage? Perhaps yes.

There have been many teams who don’t even come close to the consistent performance of India in these ICC tournaments. South Africa, Sri Lanka haven’t won anything for the last 10-years or so, but with the amount of skill and talent this country has, it’s shame to not win many trophies in the last 10-years.

The senior team won all their games, including their opening group stage game against Australia during the 50-over world cup, but the final again became a different story. The women’s team came close in multiple times in the recent past, and just when it felt like the jinx would be broken, the Aussies find a way to turn the table. This evening’s U-19 final was the same, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Indian cricket needs to win one major trophy; yes, they have a few U-19 ICC 50-over men’s and women trophy in between, but the happiness would come on a different prospect, something that a bilateral or multi-national event won’t bring.

When it comes to this tournaments, like the ICC World Cups, India is the second best. They have the second most ICC trophies (11) after Australia’s whooping 27, while they are also the second side to come second in these tournaments, with 14 runners-up medals, after England’s 15.

Cricket is a team sport, but it’s all based on individuals, someone needs to stand up on those big days and do the job on their own, and they generally gets remembered no matter how worse their overall career remains. Travis Head, someone with bit of an average record prior to 2023, made Australia won both the World Test Championship (WTC) and World Cup on his shoulder. Take the bulls by the horn.

Year 2023 Review: Be scared of Australia, they are back in winning regular ICC Trophies

Over high expectations, India’s U-19 side fails on the last step

There were high expectations over this Under-19 Indian side, especially after their victory over South Africa in the semi-final. The way captain Uday Saharan and Sachin Dhas managed to bring on the game before light from that dark zone of 32/4 chasing 245 talked a lot about their determination.

The writer of this piece may get wrong, but just from how he talked in the toss, the U-19 Australia captain Hugh Weibgen looked such a confident guy, as they decided to bat first on a track that some moisture and help for the fast bowlers under grey clouds. The start wasn’t good at 16/1, but the captain and opener Harry Dixon put up a good 78-run partnership on the second wicket, where both of them missed out from their respective centuries.

Harjas Singh selected the best platform to bring up his first fifty of the competition. But it was the 17-year-old, Oliver Peake, who stood tall and planned their score in a brilliant way. Very little he looked to go or the boundaries, and rather looked to take those quick and easy singles and doubles to put pressure on the India fielders. His unbeaten 46 of 43 balls ensured that India would have to chase the highest total of 254 in the U-19 world cup final history.

Australia's win over India gives them their 4th U-19 WC
©- Fox Cricket/ Twitter

One could easily witness pressure on those young legs. At 40/2, the hope was on Saharan, but he looked cooked, and with Adarsh Singh consuming so many balls on the other end, 77 for his 45, Saharan missed out with the pressure. A ultra-defensive mindset which drive them to playing dots, and missing on those half volleys led themselves to make funny things.

The Under-19 world cup lose means for the very first India loses both the Asia Cup and the WC in the same year. Saharan finished the tournament as the highest run-getter with 397 runs at an average of 77.69 with one century and three fifties, becoming the third most run getter for India in this tournament history, after Shikhar Dhawan (505) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (400). He also becomes the fifth India player to finish as the highest run getter of a particular U-19 competition, along with Dhawan, Jaiswal, Cheteshwar Pujara (349) and Tanmay Srivastava (262).

India should look to manage the U-19 players more carefully

The biggest job for any cricket board is to manage their players at the end of these U-19 world cup. There will be falls and rise in few of those players, but to understand their various strength becomes the most vital job.

Coming into the tournament, there was so much talk about Arshin Kulkarni, but he failed badly in this tournament, Yet, he still should be given more chances to be one of India’s weapon. One has to be careful about these players. The 18-year-old from Solapur is one of those rare breeds in India cricket who bats in the top four, and also bowls with pace.

India's unbeaten tournament ends with the final defeat
©- RevSportz/ Twitter

After Hardik Pandya, India haven’t found any of those players who could give them 7-8 overs of real pace of 135-140 kmph, with swing on offer, besides having the ability to bat in the top five. Shardul Thakur was one of those players, who he hasn’t been consistent for a long time in any of the formats. Sachin Dhas and Saharan should be given more chances in the domestic competitions, along with the red-ball games. Yash Dhull hasn’t been managed well by Delhi, but these things need to have a look at.

Once being developed well, they can be the future star, and the prime example of that is how Shubman Gill or Rishabh Pant have been doing it for India. Gill has taken the ODI format like a duck to water, while Pant’s credibility is of a different planet. And because of all these talents, their consistent loses against Australia are giving more disappointments.

Australia has won everything in the last 15-20 months. One could change the format, or the gender, or the sports, but the consistent winner remains the same, it’s the mighty Australia. For billionaire times, the writer of this article is giving an advice. Just looking at the mirror all the time, and look around, someone is doing better than you.

That Mad Writer
Author: That Mad Writer

Someone who loves how Steve Smith from being Australia's future Shane Warne has become present Don Bradman, gets inspired by Anderson's longevity, gets awed with Kohli's drive and Southee's bowling action. Never gets excited with stats and records, and believes in instincts, and always questions spinners bowling with the new ball.

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