The fourteenth edition of ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup is scheduled to take place in the West Indies from 14th January to 5th February. The tournament will feature a total if 16 teams who have been divided into 4 groups of 4 teams each. India has been grouped together with South Africa, Ireland and Uganda. The four-time champions will be led by Delhi’s Yash Dhull. The Indian team recently featured in the U19 Asia Cup where they emerged as the champions defeating Sri Lanka in the final.
Ahead of India’s opening clash against South Africa on January 15, here are 5 Indian players to watch for in the event.
1) Rajyavardhan Hangargekar
Maharashtra’s Rajyavardhan Hangargekar opens the bowling and is also a hard-hitter lower down the order. Hangargekar made his senior-level debut last season and was outstanding in the Vijay Hazare trophy. The right-arm pacer took 10 wickets in 5 matches at an average of 22.4 and an economy rate of 5.11 including a best of 4/42 against Himachal Pradesh.
In the recent U19 Asia Cup, Hangargekar took 7 wickets in 4 matches at an average of 26.12 and an economy rate of 4.64. He exhibited his all-round skills in the match against UAE U19 where he smashed 48 off 23 balls with the bat and took 3/24 off 9 overs with the ball.
2) Harnoor Singh Pannu
Stylish left-handed opening batsman Harnoor Singh Pannu comes from Punjab. In the recent warm-up match against Australia U19, Harnoor hit an impressive century to help India U19 chase down 269 comfortably.
Harnoor has been among the runs across all the U19 tournaments he has featured in. The 18-year-old was the leading run-getter at U19 Asia Cup, scoring 251 runs at an average of 50.2 and a strike rate of 82.29. In the U19 tri-series in November, he accumulated 191 runs in 3 matches at an average of 63.66 and a strike rate of 83.77.
The southpaw was also the leading run-getter in the U19 Challenger series with 418 runs from 4 matches at an average of 209 and a strike rate of 101.45.
3) Raj Bawa
Medium pace bowling all-rounder from Himachal Pradesh Raj Bawa bowls 1st change and bats in the lower middle-order. He bats left-handed and bowls with right-arm.
At the U19 Asia Cup, Raj Bawa took 8 wickets in 4 matches at an average of 21.37 and an economy rate of 5.18. He also contributed 91 runs with the bat. His best performance came in the match against Pakistan U19 where Bawa scored 25 runs with the willow and later took 4/56 with the leather.
Bawa shined in the U19 Challenger Trophy with 154 runs at a strike rate of 114 and 8 wickets in the 3 matches.
4) Vicky Ostwal
Left-arm spinner from Maharashtra, Vicky Ostwal, took 8 wickets at an average of 12.75 in 4 matches at the recently concluded U19 Asia Cup. What stood out for Vicky was his exceptional economy rate of 2.29. Ostwal also showed his capability with the bat as he blew 28* off 18 balls in the semi-final against Bangladesh u-19. He later took 2/25 off his 10 overs to help India U19 beat Bangladesh U19 by 103 runs and reach the final.
His most standout performance came in the final against Sri Lanka U19 where he took 3/11 off 8 overs to restrict Sri Lanka U19 to 106/9 off their 38 overs in a rain-affected match.
5) Shaik Rasheed
Top-order batsman from Andhra Pradesh, Shaik Rasheed, has been a consistent performer across the U19 tournaments. He scored 274 runs in 4 matches at the Challenger Trophy, where he was dismissed just once. Rasheed followed that with 155 runs in 2 matches in the U19 tri-series at an average of 77.5 and strike rate of 105.44. Then in the U19 Asia Cup, he scored 168 runs in 5 matches at an average of 56.
His standout performances include 125 off 123 balls against India B in the tri-series and a fighting knock 90* off 108 against Bangladesh U19 in the semi-finals of the U19 Asia Cup.