I told BCCI to fast-track Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Piyush Chawla after their U19 performance: Venkatesh Prasad
India U19 lost the final of 2006 World Cup but Cheteshwar Pujara was named Man of the Tournament.
Updated - Jun 13, 2020 3:17 pm
Piyush Chawla, Rohit Sharma and Chesteshwar Pujara would all have been U19 World Cup winners, had it not been for a loss in the final against Pakistan. The trio, who later went onto play for India later, was part of the U19 India team for the 2006 Junior-level World Cup.
The team played really well through the group stages and even in the quarterfinals and semi-final match. But, on a tricky pitch in Colombo, the team couldn’t hold up their arms in front of a strong Pakistan bowling unit. Years after that glorious and proud campaign, the coach Venkatesh Prasad has revealed what he had written in his report after the tournament.
Prasad in an interview revealed that he had told the BCCI to take a look after the three young cricketers and fast-track them as they have a lot of potentials.
Knew very well that they’re going to go a long way: Prasad
“These three guys – Piyush Chawla, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma I had no doubt about their talent and their capabilities. I knew very well that they’re going to go a long way. In fact, the moment the U19 World Cup (2006) was over, I did write to BCCI in my report saying that these players should be fast-tracked into playing Ranji Trophy or the zone matches, this is what I had said,” Prasad told FanCode.
Rohit Sharma had scored 205 runs in that tournament at an average of 41. Chesteshwar Pujara was awarded the Player of the Tournament trophy for his performance. He had scored 349 runs in six matches of the tournament. Chawla was India’s best bowler from that squad. He had picked up 13 wickets at an average of 12.15 and a lowly economy rate of 3.21.
The letter from Prasad may have worked for the three of them. Chawla made his Test debut in 2006 itself and the following year made his debut for the ODI team as well. In 2007, during India’s ODI match in Belfast against Ireland, Sharma also made his debut. The duo was in the World Cup-winning squad with Dhoni’s men lifted the inaugural ICC World T20 in South Africa.
Pujara could only make his debut in 2010 against Australia. However, he was the mainstay of Saurashtra’s batting from 2007 to 2010, until he made his debut in international cricket.