After registering a thumping 189-run victory in the warm-up match against South Africa U-19, Prithvi Shaw led India U-19 boys are all set to take on Australia in their first match at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui on Sunday (January 14).
Mentored by the legendary Rahul Dravid, India’s U-19 squad is full of exceptional talents with some of the players have already made their mark in first-class cricket. While Dravid has often talked about not focusing on certain individuals, it is fairly difficult not to see the likes of skipper Prithvi Shaw as the vital cog in the team’s batting wheel.
Besides Shaw, who has taken India’s domestic cricket by storm with 5 tons in 9 first-class matches, there is Himanshu Rana, who has aggregated a mammoth tally of runs in youth ODIs. Punjab’s Shubhman Gill at the crucial No. 3 spot is widely deemed as the most exciting young talent. With a couple of first-class games under his belt, Shubhman is raring to prove his mettle in this U-19 World Cup.
As far as the fast bowling is concerned – there is plenty of expectations from the Bengal pacer Ishan Porel. In Mohammed Shami’s absence, Porel has featured in three first-class matches for Bengal in the recently concluded Ranji Trophy season. Aside from Porel, Shivam Mavi will be another pacer who will look to make his mark in the seaming conditions of New Zealand.
Ahead of the first match, India skipper Prithvi Shaw has said that the team is fully motivated to leave an impression in the U-19 World Cup and will play the showpiece event with a sole motive to clinch the trophy. Shaw also asserted that he is satisfied with the team’s preparations.
“We’ve been here a week now, played a couple of games. Everything has gone well, the preparation of the team has been good. Our goal is obviously to win the World Cup but at the same time we are looking forward to our first game,” Shaw was quoted by PTI as saying.
The three times Under-19 champions, India had finished runner-up in the last edition of World Cup in Bangladesh in 2016. In this particular edition, India U-19 team are slotted in Group B along with Australia, Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea U19.
India U-19 Squad:
Prithvi Shaw (C), Shubman Gill, Aryan Juyal, Abhishek Sharma, Arshdeep Singh, Harvik Desai, Manjot Kalra, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Pankaj Yadav, Riyan Parag, Ishan Porel, Himanshu Rana, Anukul Roy, Shivam Mavi, Shiva Singh.
Australia U-19 Squad:
Jason Sangha (C), Will Sutherland, Xavier Bartlett, Max Bryant, Jack Edwards, Zak Evans, Jarrod Freeman, Ryan Hadley, Baxter Holt, Nathan McSweeney, Jonathan Merlo, Lloyd Pope, Jason Ralston, Param Uppal, Austin Waugh.
(With inputs from PTI)