U-19 World Cup: India starts firm favourite against Sri Lanka

India has shown at the junior level the gulf that exists between it and other teams, the testimony being its two titles and one runner-up finish in the last four editions.

FILE PHOTO: Yashasvi Jaiswal is one of the key members of the India U-19 squad.

FILE PHOTO: Yashasvi Jaiswal is one of the key members of the India U-19 squad.   -  Sudhakara Jain

Defending champion India, with five new IPL recruits in its ranks, will be the overwhelming favourite when it starts its campaign against Sri Lanka in the ICC U-19 World Cup here on Sunday.

India has time and again shown at the junior level the gulf that exists between it and other teams, the testimony being its two titles and one runner-up finish in the last four editions.

Even in the run-up to the ongoing edition, India has won a bilateral series against South Africa, followed by a Quadrangular contest. The ‘Boys in Blue’ also beat Afghanistan comprehensively in a practice game.

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Robust structure

Since Rahul Dravid took over the mantle of junior cricket, the robust structure created has produced many talented players. In this edition, India’s campaign will be headlined by left-handed opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, who recently landed a Rs 2.4 crore contract with IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals. Jaiswal is already touted as the next big thing in junior cricket, having hit a double hundred in the country’s Sr National One Day Championship (Vijay Hazare Trophy).

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His skipper Priyam Garg, who also has a multi-crore IPL deal, is by far the most experienced player with 12 first-class and 19 List A games to his credit. The tall fast bowler Kartik Tyagi will also keep everyone interested with his pace.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has some players who have played senior representative cricket but in recent times, including in the junior Asia Cup, the Indian team has proved to be a far superior opposition.

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