The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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World Cup our next target: Robin
- Coach feels Irfan Pathan has enough talent to make the senior Indian side

New Delhi: After establishing their supremacy in Asia, the Indian colts are now eyeing the ultimate glory — victory in the junior World Cup to be held in Bangladesh early next year.

India, who started the under-19 Asian Championship in Pakistan on a sorry note losing their first match against Sri Lanka by four wickets, roared back in style registering sensational wins in the next two games before drubbing the Lankans by eight wickets in the final in Lahore Thursday for the title.

“This is a morale boosting win for us ahead of the World Cup and it will do a world of good to the players. Though some played superbly throughout the tournament, it was collective effort which won us the title,” coach Robin Singh said Friday.

“Winning is very important for every side and the title win came at the right time.

“The way we bounced back to win the Cup speaks volumes of what team work can do.”

However, Robin does not want to get carried away by the success and feels India’s real test will be the World Cup. “The World Cup will be the real test for the side,” said the former India allrounder. Robin singled out Irfan Pathan for special praise saying the left-arm seamer proved his credentials with some fine display of fast bowling.

“He is knocking at the doors of international cricket and I think he has it in him to succeed at the highest level,” he said.

“With the Indian in the look out for some quality pacers, Irfan stands a very good chance,” Robin added.

Pathan bagged the Man of the Series award for his 18-wicket haul in the event which included dream figures of nine for 16 off seven overs against Bangladesh in the last league match. He was also instrumental in India’s sensational 10-run win against Pakistan in an earlier match and played a crucial role in the final as well claiming three vital scalps.

The coach also has a special word for skipper A. T. Rayudu for his show with the bat.

“Rayudu is a very fine batsman with a lot of potential. Players like him and some others in the side need to be groomed so that they can serve the country for years in future.”

The Indian team, which was to come to return home via Dubai on Saturday, made some last-minute changes in their schedule and got permission to cross over to India via the Wagah border, which is only 20km from Lahore.

“It is much easier to come to India by bus from Lahore than going to Dubai and then get the plane for here.

“The change in schedule was made so that we could save some time in reaching home,” he said.

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