Mumbai: After returning from Australia to a warm reception here, India`s triumphant under-19 World Cup captain Unmukt Chand today said his players always had immense the self-belief that they would lay their hands on the coveted trophy despite the squad`s initial stumbles.
"The best thing about the tournament is we faltered initially and then we got into the groove slightly later in the tournament. We stumbled a bit, but we peaked at the right time," said the Delhi youngster at a media conference here.
"The best part was, we didn`t know what was happening in India, that really kept us on target. The belief was very strong among the guys and we always felt we will go and lift the trophy. The belief only took us further in the tournament and win the tournament."
Chand, who top-scored for India with 246 runs from six games, including a match-winning knock of 111 not out in the final against Australia on Sunday, said the team members carried on with a positive mindset after losing the tournament opener against West Indies when the batting flopped.
"All the batsmen go out to score runs but most of the time it does not happen. We lost the first match against West Indies, but even from that we took the positives like our bowling and fielding. That we carried in further matches," Chand said.
"It is not like I didn`t want to score but I was fortunate to score in the final when the team wanted me the most."
Chand also hailed the tips given by champion batsman Sachin Tendulkar to the team members before the squad left for the tournament.
"We had a half an hour session with him before leaving. The session was quite helpful. He told what we would face there and how we need to tackle it. He helped us a lot and told us the dos and don`ts."
The Indian colts skipper, who smashed a match-winning century in the summit clash at Townsville, played down the talks about his imminent inclusion in the seniors team and said he is taking it step by step.
"I just take one tournament at a time and I am really happy that we did well together at the World Cup as a unit and the next step (for me) is India `A` and I will be looking forward to do well over there. It`s too early to say anything about playing for India. I do want to play for India but at the moment I want to focus on wherever I go and play."
"(Berth in the) senior team is a long way away. Now there is an India `A` team (tour to New Zealand) where I have to perform. If I perform well, then let`s see," he said earlier on arrival at the airport.
Chand, who has followed the footsteps of Mohd Kaif and Virat Kohli to lead the country to the under-19 World Cup title, is in the India `A` squad to be led by Abhinav Mukund, which is to tour New Zealand.
The opening batsman, set to leave with India `A` squad to New Zealand next month, was responding to questions about former Australian captain Ian Chappell`s rich praise heaped on him and left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh by suggesting these exceptional talents should not be wasted at junior levels.
Asked if he had met Chappell during the tournament, Chand said, "I haven`t met him much. I met him a couple of times for the toss. He advised me to play the way I am playing and stay grounded."
Asked on the comparison made between his batting and that of India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Chand said, "The media makes the comparison. We play over there... Sometimes you hit and sometimes you don`t hit. My role for the finals was to make the team reach 226 (winning target). I was successful, so I am really happy.