On an overcast Sunday in Potchefstroom, South Africa, Bangladesh won their maiden ICC world title, beating India in the U19 World Cup Final. This was India’s third successive final at the event. Prithvi Shaw‘s side clinched the title in New Zealand two years ago. The Priyam Garg-led outfit came close to repeating the feat this time around, but fell short in the final.
The Indian U19 team dominated the World Cup, defeating Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia and Pakistan comprehensively. But the final saw a swing in fortunes, as a middle-order collapse resulted in India being bowled out for 177. This wasn’t a competitive total by any stretch of imagination, and the Indian team didn’t help its cause by conceding too many extras and dropping catches. Due credit to Bangladesh who produced some tight bowling and resourceful batting, and held their nerve in a tense chase.
It wasn’t all gloom for India though. We did unearth a few talents who could transition from the U19 team to the big league, following the footsteps of players like Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli and Prithvi Shaw. Here are three players who could play for India someday.
Yashasvi Jaiswal had already become famous as the pani-puri selling batting prodigy at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan by the time he was selected to the U19 World Cup team. He had already played for Mumbai in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and had scored a double century that made the country sit up and take notice. Jaiswal made the most of his selection and ended the U19 World Cup as the highest run-scorer. His tally was 400 runs from 6 innings with four fifties and a hundred, while no other batsman crossed 300 runs in the tournament. He scored 88 out of India’s 177 runs in the final, and it was his wicket that triggered a collapse. Jaiswal is only 18, and has plenty of time to play first-class cricket and eventually cement his place in the senior Indian team. This rags-to-riches story is far from over.
If Jaiswal topped the batting charts, Ravi Bishnoi ended as the tournament’s top wicket taker with 17 scalps in 6 games at an average of 10. The wily leg-spinner was near-unplayable in the final and picked up 4 wickets, making the chase difficult for Bangladesh. A mix of Rashid Khan and Anil Kumble, Bishnoi had made headlines earlier this year when he was bagged by Kings XI Punjab for a cool INR 2 crores in the IPL auction – the highest among his young teammates. He has only just started his first-class career with Rajasthan, and time will tell if he can emulate the long legacy of Indian spinners.
Nobody will forget right-arm quick Kartik Tyagi’s 4-24 against a strong Aussie lineup in the quarterfinal. The spell helped India defend 233 in a crunch game. Tyagi finished as India’s second highest wicket-taker, but failed to take a wicket in the final. Yet, he has shown rhythm and enough pace to be compared to the likes of new-age Indian pacers such as Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Ishan Porel and Shivam Mavi. Tyagi will look to build upon a semi-successful World Cup campaign and leapfrog his way into a newly improved senior Indian bowling setup. But for this, his workload must be managed well so that he remains injury-free.
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