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August 13, 2006
Lalchand Rajput, the former Indian opener who recently coached the Under-19 side on their successful England tour, was pleased with the way some young players developed and was optimistic of a few of them stepping up to the higher grade.
"It was a very good trip and a successful one too as we won both the series," Rajput told the Press Trust of India. "We should have won the first Test too after having swept the one-day series, but England managed to bat out the final day and earn a draw."
Singling out a few players as the most impressive ones on the trip, Rajput said they all needed to keep working hard on their game. "The batsmen to impress the most were Delhi's Viraj Kohli, captain Tanmay Srivastava of Uttar Pradesh, opener Parvez Aziz of Assam and Bodapati Sumanth of Andhra. In bowling, the medium-pace trio of Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh (TN), Abu Nacheem (Assam) and Ishan Sharma (Delhi), along with left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem caught the eye."
Rajput, 44, who played two Tests and four ODIs for India in the mid-eighties, spoke about the strengths of some of the young batsmen on tour. He described Aziz as an attacking opening batsman who provided the team with brisk starts. "He used to stroke his way to quick 60s and 70s and batted aggressively in the Tests too," he added. "Kohli showed strong technical skills against both pace and spin while captain Srivastava impressed with his sound temperament and willingness to play long innings. Sumanth could hit the spinners out of the attack easily and showed fine finishing instincts in the one dayers by making a very impressive 97 not out in the last match."
He had special praise for his medium-pacers. "I was very impressed with medium pacer Ishant Sharma who, at 17, worked up good pace in excess of 135 kph. I see him improving much more in two years' time," he continued. "Both Yo Mahesh, who got a hat-trick in one of the one-dayers, and Nacheem also bowled well, keeping a good line and length."
The Under-19 side are scheduled to tour Pakistan next month. They are also set to visit New Zealand in the end of the year.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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