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January 13, 2005
Venkatesh Prasad, the former Indian seamer, has been named as the coach of the India Under-19 side which will face the touring English colts in three Tests and five one-dayers later this month. Prasad had earlier been coach of the under-15 and under-17 teams at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
"I never planned things. They are just following one by one," Prasad told The Indian Express after attending the selection-committee meeting in Mumbai. "Four days back, I got a call from the BCCI to check if I was OK with the idea. I was only too glad to accept the job.
"This is just the first day. I am trying to get acquainted with the players. Since most of them were at the NCA I don't think the familiarisation process should be that tough."
The England team has already arrived in India and is set to commence its tour with practice matches in Bangalore. Prasad is in the city to have a look at his team and plan out a few things. "I will try to keep it simple. The important thing for the boys is to learn from each other. What I will surely tell them is about the spirit of cricket."
Though unwilling to disclose any details at this stage, Prasad said: "The most important thing for me is preparation. As a coach my motto is simple. What matters at this age is preparation, and results are just the end product of it."
Ambati Rayudu, the talented Hyderabad batsman, has been named captain of the team. The first Test starts at Bangalore on January 22. Gautam Dasgupta, the BCCI joint secretary and convenor of the selection committee, said that the team for the third Test at Jamshedpur and the one-dayers would be announced during the second Test at Kolkata.
Talking about his own playing career, Prasad ruled out the possibility of an immediate retirement from first-class cricket. "I am not finished as a first-class player yet. I am not going to announce my retirement till after the Pakistan series."
India Under-19 squad for first two Tests
Ambati Rayudu (capt), Manoj Tiwari (vice-capt), Pinal Shah (wk), Robin Uthappa, Gaurav Dhiman, Faiz Fazal, Mayank Tehlan, Aditya Jain, Shikhar Dhawan, Piyush Chawla, Avinash Yadav, Hardevender Singh, Abid Nabi, Harvinder Singh.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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