The 14th ICC U-19 World Cup kicks off on Friday with 16 teams vying for the Caribbean Islands’ global trophy.
India, a record four-time tournament winner, will start their campaign in Group B on Saturday along with South Africa, Ireland and Uganda.
In the long process since 1988, the U-19 World Cup has produced a number of superstars who have since become the main performers of the national team. The biennial event has brought several star performers to India, from early Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh to current stalwarts Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
Until 2022, here are some young Indians who can light up the game with their precocious abilities.
A year after his debut for Maharashtra, 19-year-old Rajvardhan Hangargekar will be one of the leaders of the West Indies Indian Seam attack. The right-arm pacer, who made his A-list debut in early 2021, went 4/42 in five matches, including two, against Himachal Pradesh in the Vijay Hazare trophy. Field 4-fers.
In addition to his sharp bowling frontcourt, Hangargekar also doubles as a determined striker with a fondness for the big six. Hangargekar’s all-around power allowed him to score 216 points in eight innings in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, setting records with 16 sixes and two 50s. He finished second on the wicket-takers leaderboard with an average of under 12. Hangargekar also picked up eight wickets from five appearances during the Asian Cup campaign India won in December.
Harnoor Singh, 18, has entered the big event in the West Indies with rich form that has been going on for over four months. The Jalandhar-born southpaw honed his skills in Chandigarh, lighting up the U-19 Challenger Trophy with 418 runs in four innings and bearing his name for three centuries. Hanauer built on the U-19 Triangle series in early December, followed by a five-match run in the UAE’s U-19 Asian Cup with 251 appearances, including 120 against the hosts.
Hanol’s purple patch has certainly hit the Caribbean coast as he warmed up to an unbeaten 100 against Australia in India’s second practice match. Guyana.
Raj Angad Bawa
19-year-old Raj Angad Bawa has emerged as a key figure for the Indian side after his impressive performance in the recent U-19 Championships. Himachal-born Raj Angad came from a family of sports riches. His grandfather Tarlochan Singh Bawa was a key member of the 1948 Olympic gold medalist India team, while his father Sukhwinder Singh was Yuvraj Singh’s coach.
Raj Angad, a tough left-handed batsman and a crafty right-armed midranger, showed his skills in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy and Challenger Trophy from October to November 2021. He has eight wickets in four appearances during his U-19 UAE Asian Cup and will be looking to be consistent in both divisions in the West Indies.
An “instinctive captain” in the words of India coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar, 19-year-old Yash Dhull from Delhi, with his leadership skills duly complementing his batting skills, has risen through the rungs.
Dhull, who had previously led Delhi in the U-16 and U-19 categories, was selected as captain after firm knocks in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy and Challenger Trophy. Dhull’s first assignment as India captain was a success, as he led the team to an Asian Cup title in the UAE in late December. After a string of low runs, Toure could bounce back in time for two 50-over Indian West Indies games ahead of Saturday’s opener.
Siddharth Yadav made a splash in the U-19 Challenger Trophy, bursting into the U-19 World Cup squad. The 18-year-old from Ghaziabad became the tournament’s second-highest scorer with 361 runs in four innings. Siddharth put out 19 sixes, the most of any batsman during the tournament. India’s U-19s in the 15-ball 42 (undefeated) triangle series improved his qualifications as a floating finisher and could well play a similar role for India at the World Cup.
For the past five months, Andhra Pradesh youngster SK Rasheed has set the domestic U-19 scene on fire with a truckload of runs. Rashid’s anti-aging maturity on the pitch has been well-deserved by the vice-captain of the World Cup.
A cornerstone of India’s U-19 batting lineup, Rasheed entered the Championship after finishing in the top four in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, Challenger Trophy and U-19 Triangle Series. Although his strike rate was sluggish in the 70s, Rashid’s determined batting gave him 168 runs in five innings at the U-19 Asian Cup. A 72 (injury) over Australia in practice confirmed Rashid will lead the Indian team’s fortunes with the bat as it eyes a fifth title.
The only left-armed player in India’s bowling attack, Ravi Kumar has started his final preparation lap in the West Indies. The 18-year-old broke Australia’s batting order with 4/34 in India’s second practice match. While wickets kept him out of the way in the U-19 Asian Cup, Ravi controlled the scoring rate with an excellent economy of 4.75 and is likely to share new-ball duties with Hangargekar during this month’s World Cup.