ICC U-19 World Cup | Know Your Future Stars ft. batsmen and batting all-rounders

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ICC U-19 World Cup | Know Your Future Stars ft. batsmen and batting all-rounders

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Bastab K Parida


“The Greatness begins here”- Star Sports, ICC’s official broadcaster for the Youth World Cup, had the promotional event spot on. From the likes of Virat Kohli to Kane Williamson, from Steve Smith to Shikhar Dhawan - the tournament has been the launchpad for many future stars the world has seen.

In contrast, as life moves on, many dreams eventually get shattered in the test of time. Remember Unmukt Chand, the Virat Kohli prototype who demolished Australian colts, led by William Bosisto, for India’s third Youth World Cup win? It is a stage that has been cruel to many and Chand is the prime example. However, as the new edition gets underway for India in the quaint town of Bloemfontein, better known for South Africa’s judicial capital, with a match against Sri Lanka, there is a lot to hope for. 

Yashasvi Jaiswal: This is a guy who needs no introduction. From lighting up the Mumbai T20 League to setting the Vijay Hazare Trophy on fire, Jaiswal is everyone’s darling. His rags-to-riches story adds to the narrative and when he will set out to open for the Indian Colts in Bloemfontein on Sunday, he will be having a lot of expectations on his shoulders. It was the same venue where Virender Sehwag made his international debut and matched Sachin Tendulkar shot to shot for a stunning century on debut. Ever since being hyped up for his big-hitting ability, the Mumbai youngster has barely done anything wrong, scoring 779 runs at an average of 70.81 with an S/R of 91.53. He is also on a scoring spree in his U-19 career, with some of his recent scores being 69, 78, 89*, 38*, 108* over the course of the last two months. He has also been eked out by Rajasthan Royals for INR 2.4 cr and in the World Cup, he will have to carry out the same role Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill did a couple of years ago in New Zealand. 

Divyaansh Saxena: For Saxena, consistency has never been the buzz word. His occasional hit of brilliance is accompanied by pretty brutal lows, all within the span of games. The Mumbai southpaw learnt the tricks of the trade at the Dadar Union Sporting Club in Mumbai with his techniques being old-school and technically correct. His unbeaten 128 in the Quadrangular series against Zimbabwe helped India big-time and his role should be clearly defined now. He will partner Jaiswal at the top of the order, with whom he has had many partnerships for Dadar Union, Dilip Vengsarkar Foundation, Mumbai’s age-group teams and now India Under-19 squads. In the World Cup, he will have to set up the base for more fluent players like Tilak Varma and skipper Priyam Garg.

ALSO READ: Know Your Future Stars ft. bowlers and bowling all-rounders

Tilak Varma: One of the most underrated players in the squad, Varma set the stage on fire in South Africa by becoming the top-scorer at the quadrangular series, which also involved New Zealand and Zimbabwe. Further evidence to his incredible consistency is that Varma had hit four half-centuries in his last four games which is also a testament to his ability as a solid #3. His journey to the U-19 set-up was an incredible one as the Hyderabadi scored as many as 779 runs in just six matches at an average of 86.56 in the 2018-19 Cooch Behar Trophy, which he followed up with 507 runs in eight games at 84.50 in the Under-19 Vinoo Mankad Trophy. All of 17, the Hyderabadi has already represented the senior state side, securing two half-centuries against his name. He will act as the ice to Jaiswal’s fire and brimstone, and India will hope him to replicate the same performance of the quadrangular series when they take on neighbours Sri Lanka.

Priyam Garg: A product of Sanjay Rastogi’s Victoria Park Academy inside the Meerut College campus, Garg’s story is one of hardship and determination. After the passing away of his mother, Garg’s father sold milk, worked as a newspaper hawker and went as far as ferrying school children in a mini-van; But he provided his son the best of the coaching facilities in Meerut, a place which gifted Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Praveen Kumar to Indian cricket. A middle-order batsman, the Uttar Pradesh boy has been a heavy run-scorer at the U-19 level, even accumulating 867 first-class runs at an average over 66. Over 700 runs in 19 List A matches adds to his growing stature, as the 19-year-old prepares himself for the biggest event of his life, hoping to emulate the likes of Mohammed Kaif, Virat Kohli, Unmukt Chand and Prithvi Shaw to become India’s fifth skipper to land a World Cup Trophy before he wears the Orange Jersey for this year’s Indian Premier League.

Dhruv Chand Jurel: The vice-captain of the team, Dhruv led the Indian colts to the title in Asia Cup 2019 and has been a mainstay of the squad. The son of an army officer, who was sent to Kargil in 1999, idolises MS Dhoni and tries to pick as many things as he can from the former Indian wicket-keeper’s keeping manual. Ahead of the World Cup, the youngster from Agra is hitting well, 101 in the U-19 Quadrangular Series final against South Africa after a fine 65 against the same opposition a few days ago. Batting at No.5 adds to the sense of effectiveness, as Jurel will be trusted by Paras Mhambrey to do the job of an anchor and aggressor depending on the situation.

Shashwat Rawat: A fringe player in the side, Rawat is most likely to be sitting on the bench as India get their campaign underway in Bloemfontein on Sunday. Batting in the lower-middle order, the Uttarakhand batsman has failed to get many batting opportunities lately, with his highest score in the last 10 Youth ODI games being 39 with the second-best being 17. However, come the World Cup, if he gets the opportunity to assist Jurel and Garg in constructing the innings, he would be hoping to stand up and deliver.

Siddhesh Veer: After all-rounder Divyansh Joshi was been ruled out of the World Cup with a dislocated shoulder while fielding during the youth one-day series against South Africa, Veer was added to the squad. But the fact that he had been a part of the pre-tournament camp should have given the Maharashtra all-rounder a sense of belongingness, having already played seven matches, including the Warm-up matches. In the Quadrangular series in South Africa, he scored 71 and 48*, on top of which he hit a half-century against Afghanistan colts at the Greenfield International Stadium, which was a thing of beauty. His added pace bowling is a bonus for the Indian team as the team will try to fill the big hole left by Joshi’s absence.

Kumar Kushagra: He keeps just like MS Dhoni and Ishan Kishan. He dives just like his illustrious teammates and he is calm and composed as his role models. The sense of assuredness in everything Kumar Kushagra does - who is also a product of Jharkhand’s affinity with wicket-keeper batsmen - saw him being picked in the India U-19 side for the Youth World Cup in South Africa. While Dhruv Jurel is sure to start against Sri Lanka, Kushagra will have to wait for his opportunities but lest he gets one, he will have the same role that MS Dhoni did for donkey’s years - finishing the game and batting with the tail. 

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