After winning the under-19 cricket World Cup on Sunday, Indian skipper Unmukt Chand told the mayor of Townsville at the presentation ceremony: “If we create a nuisance, please forgive us.” But there were no acts of nuisance. The boys celebrated, but in an appropriate manner.

Baba Aparajith, the star of the quarter-final and semi-final said, “we enjoyed a nice meal at an Indian restaurant here and danced to a few numbers. Only players, coaching staff and a few supporters were invited.”


Indian players celebrate after winning the ICC U-19 World Cup at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville on Sunday. Pic: ICC/Getty Images

For a lot of them, the victory has not sunk in. Wicketkeeper Smit Patel said, “I guess it has not really sunk it. We will only realise it when we reach India. In a way, tonight’s (Sunday) celebration was just amongst us.

“We really enjoyed dancing to some Punjabi songs on the street. I suppose the big party will happen when we get back home and see all our fans.” It is learnt that the Board of Control for Cricket in India will host a felicitation function at a Mumbai five-star hotel today.

Still a long way to go
While the boys are over the moon, they also know this is just a stepping stone to reaching the ultimate goal. Left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh feels he has a long way to go before playing for India. “This win is great, but I want to play for India (senior team) one day and that means I need to compete against the best.”

When Harmeet was told about the comments by former Australia captain Ian Chappell, who stated he is best spinner in India, the young gun, responded: “First things first… I need to secure a spot in the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team. I need to keep picking wickets and work hard to achieve that ultimate goal.”

Vice-captain, Akash Nath also stressed on the long road ahead. “Not everyone who represents India U-19, goes on to play for the senior team, so you have to be realistic.

“We need to take one step at a time. There is a huge difference between U-19 and India seniors. After enjoying this moment, we need to have our feet back on the ground,” he said.