Antigua: Shaik Rasheed, who was India’s crisis man during the 2022 Under-19 World Cup, has said that his teammates are over the moon after winning the title and the victory was a tribute to the bonding among the players and the coaches.
The batter showed solid temperament and played vital innings for the Indian team in all three knockout games in the World Cup.
“We have just won the Under-19 World Cup and we are over the moon. The victory was a tribute to the bonding among the players and the coaches who ensured we stayed here (in the Caribbean) like a family. My future… I will take it the way it comes. I need to improve my game and I will work on it,” Rasheed told Cricbuzz.
Rasheed hit a 26 in a low-scoring but high-intensity chase in the quarter-final against Bangladesh and anchored the innings with a well-paced 94 in the semi-final against Australia and then set the match up with a solid 50 in the final against England. All three knocks came after the early loss of wickets.
Asked to explain those innings in the knockouts, the Andhra boy said he tried to play his natural game.
“Initially there was pressure but I tried to play my natural game. I am confident of my game and I played that way. Although there was not much practice before the knockouts (because of the Covid-induced isolation), we were confident. I had scored an unbeaten 72 in a practice game against Australia and that gave me a lot of confidence,” he said.
Rasheed also recalled the tough time when he tested positive for Covid-19 during the tournament. He thanked the support staff for motivating the players during that tough phase.
“I never thought I had another chance in the tournament. I had given up hope of playing any more part in the tournament. Regular testing and 15-day quarantine and I thought the tournament has ended for me,” the batter said while recalling the time when the Indian camp was hit by Covid-19 with half a dozen players, including himself, being forced into isolation.
“At that stage, the support staff backed us well, kept us motivated. We were in isolation and they would do regular video-calling and try to explain to us to treat this as a brief injury pause and not as a Covid disruption. Coaches and VVS Laxman Sir would be on the call and they would tell me there is a lot more to play in the tournament – quarterfinals, semi-finals, final, and all those games. They tried to instil a positive mindset,” he added.
Since the four-wicket win in the final, the youngster has got lots of calls and messages. “We have had a party. We celebrated the win, stayed together. The bonding is very good. And, yes I have not had time to answer all my calls and messages. I will respond to them all soon,” he said.
Many of Rasheed’s teammates have registered for the IPL auction but he would not be one to go under the hammer as he has not played a List A or a first-class game, which is a necessity to be eligible to feature in the IPL. However, he is not disappointed.
“Not exactly. I will get my opportunities. If I have not played this year it does not mean it is the end of the world. I will qualify eventually,” he signed off.