We didn’t even know that some U19 Indian players have contracted COVID, coaches maintained a positive atmosphere: Ravi Kumar [Interview]

Ravi was instrumental in taking India to the Under-19 World Cup triumph this year.

Ravi was instrumental in taking India to the Under-19 World Cup triumph this year.
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Ravi Kumar
Gaurav Tripathi
GAURAV TRIPATHI

Jr. Statistician

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India’s cricketing future looks bright with the country producing one rising star after another. Among those is left-arm pacer Ravi Kumar, who’s expected to go a long way. The 18-year-old fast bowler was instrumental in taking India to the Under-19 World Cup triumph this year. Ravi took 10 wickets in just six games in the competition, including a four-wicket haul against England in the final clash.

With Ravi producing such a sensational show in the mega event, he would have fetched a substantial amount in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 mega auction. However, as he was below 19 and hadn’t played First-Class or List-A cricket at the time of the auction, the pacer wasn’t eligible to take part in the bidding event. Nonetheless, he was fast-tracked into Bengal’s squad for the ongoing Ranji Trophy season and expectations are high from him.

In an exclusive interview with CricTracker, Ravi opened about many things and made some interesting revelations as well. From shedding light on his U19 World Cup stint to his banter with Virat Kohli, let’s look at how the star pacer responded to our queries.

Here are the excerpts from Ravi Kumar’s interview:

After a successful World Cup journey now, you’ll get to rub shoulders with some big names in the Bengal Ranji squad. How you are looking forward to this season?

I have just got selected in Ranji Trophy. As this is my maiden season, there are less chances of me getting a place in the playing XI in initial matches. After all, there are many senior players in the squad. So, I first need to impress the coaches at nets. I’ll try my best to make a mark this season.

Who’s your dream wicket at the moment?

Ans – MS Dhoni

What’s the story behind your banter with Virat Kohli when he came to address the team?

When were interacting with Virat bhaiya over a video call a day before the U19 World Cup final, everyone had their questions. So, as a bowler, I came up with a question and he made a funny response. I asked him what’s your weakness and how you handle it? Then Virat bhaiya replied: “Already started planning to get me out (laughs)?’

The current scarcity in left-arm pace department is quite disappointing in India. Do you think you can fill that void in the senior team?

Yes, they are not my options if you talk about the left-arm pacers. So, I’ll try my best to earn a place in the Indian team. In order to do that, I am focusing on Ranji Trophy as of now. I’ll try to do well there to get chances at the highest level.

Tell us about the post match scenes after winning the world cup

We thought about doing many things but didn’t get to do it. As were short of time, we created a lively atmosphere in the dressing room and celebrated. We hardly had 10 minutes. So, we did whatever we could in that period and then, left for hotel.

You bagged 4 wickets in the final match…Walk us through that experience

I got to learn a lot ahead of the final. When we stepped onto the field for the summit, everyone had a positive mindset of doing well. We didn’t take any pressure and expressed our natural game on the ground. I personally had the mindset of giving my team maximum breakthroughs and I did that. So, it boosted the morale of the side and all the bowlers did well.

What was the mood in the camp after the Covid setback? How did you all manage to keep the belief of winning the tournament intact?

No doubt that was a tough time but VVS (Laxman) Sir, Hrishikesh (Kanitkar) Sir and all other coaches were there. Everyone maintained a positive atmosphere in the dressing room. There were no negative thoughts and they gave us very less time to worry about it. We didn’t even get to know when (some of the) players returned with positive tests. We got the news only at the time of the match.

So, the schedule was busy and we were just focusing on cricket. There were also many players in the team who kept the morale high. Owing to our unity and team bonding, we managed to do well.

What would be your all-time playing XI?

Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (C & WK), Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mitchell Starc